Four African Amerians Who Have Been Named to New Diversity Positions in Higher Education

Baruch College of the City University of New York announced the appointment of Elliott Dawes as executive chief diversity officer, effective August 2. Dawes has been serving as the chief diversity officer for institutional equity and inclusion at Empire State College of the State University of New York System. Earlier, he was the director of The City University of New York Black Male Initiative.

Dawes earned a bachelor’s degree in government and Africana studies from Cornell University Hew holds law degrees from New York University and Columbia University.

Leah Cox was appointed vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since 2017, she has been serving as the inaugural vice president for inclusion and institutional equity at Towson University in Maryland. Earlier, Dr. Cox was at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, where she served as special assistant to the president and chief diversity officer, Title IX coordinator, and campus ombudsman.

Dr. Cox holds a bachelor’s degree from what is now McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, a master’s degree from the University of Arizona, and a doctoral degree from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Steven E. Hairston was named to dual positions as executive director of the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Prior to this position, he served as the vice president for institutional advancement and chief operating officer at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Dr. Hairston is a native of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Virginia Union University in Richmond. He earned a master of public administration degree from Temple University in Philadelphia and a Ph.D. in leadership studies from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro.

Meshea L. Poore, vice president for equity, diversity, and inclusion at West Virginia University, is the new president of the Big 12 Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. She has been on the staff at West Virginia University since 2018. Earlier, she was president of the West Virginia State Bar.

Poore is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she majored in political science. She earned a juris doctorate at the Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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