National Institute on Aging

Four African Americans Who Are Assuming New Diversity Positions in Higher Education

Travon Robinson was appointed inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism officer at Butte College in Oroville, California. He has been serving as director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at California State Univerity, Chico. Robinson has been on the staff at Chico State for 28 years.

A native of Compton, California, Robinson was recruited to play football at Chico State. But he was injured and could no longer play football. He persisted and earned a bachelor’s degree at the university in 1995.

Julie Bernard is the inaugural vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Norwich University in Vermont. She has been serving as interim chair and associate professor in East Tennessee State University’s department of counseling and human services.

Dr. Bernard holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, and a doctorate in child development and family studies, all from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Charlene Holmes was appointed director of diversity and engagement at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Most recently, she was president and CEO of Imana Borena in New York, where she oversaw the organization’s executive leadership programs, including diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Holmes holds a bachelor’s degree in health science from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and a master’s degree of professional studies in sports management from St. John’s University in Queens, New York.

Michael Alston was promoted to associate vice chancellor for inclusion, equity, and diversity at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. The appointment is effective June 30. He has been serving as assistant vice chancellor for equity and diversity, Title IX coordinator, and chief diversity officer.

Dr. Alston holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in educational psychology and guidance from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He earned a doctorate in education at Vanderbilt University.


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