University of Virginia President Jim Ryan today announced the appointment of Kevin G. McDonald as vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. An experienced administrator with a proven track record of advancing initiatives that help universities be diverse, vibrant and welcoming communities, McDonald is currently the vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for the University of Missouri system.
He will assume the top leadership post on Aug. 1.
“During our search for a new vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, we have been looking for someone with both experience and a vision for making UVA even more vibrant, diverse and inclusive than it is today,” Ryan said. “Kevin McDonald is the right person for the job. He understands that getting the right people in the room isn’t enough – we also need to make it easier to build bridges across apparent lines of difference.
“I want to thank Dr. Marcus Martin for everything he’s done to help this university live its values, and I’m grateful to Kevin for agreeing to carry that work forward.”
Reporting to Ryan and serving as a member of his cabinet, McDonald will work closely with senior leaders, faculty, staff, students, community members and other stakeholders to develop and execute strategies that advance UVA’s inclusive excellence. The Office for Diversity and Equity provides a place to consolidate, support, communicate and guide the University’s efforts in these areas. It also promotes a University climate and culture that incorporates cultural competency and continuous learning about the varieties of human difference.
Among the offices and functions that will report to McDonald will be the University’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights.
“I am very excited about joining the UVA and Charlottesville communities and working collaboratively to build on the past efforts of dedicated constituencies while also moving diversity, equity and inclusion forward,” McDonald said. “I am also grateful for the opportunity and will work incredibly hard to establish strong relationships built on trust, integrity, authenticity, visibility and transparency.”
Search committee chair Martin Davidson, the Johnson and Higgins Professor of Business Administration, senior associate dean and chief diversity officer for UVA’s Darden School of Business, said he looked forward to welcoming McDonald.
“There was tremendous interest in this position from the outset. UVA was seen as a place where real change could happen,” he said. “The search committee reviewed some of the most accomplished professionals in the country, and Kevin impressed us with the breadth of his experience creating cultures of inclusion that encompassed both the universities he served and the communities in which they were embedded. We are thrilled Kevin and his family will be coming to Charlottesville and that Kevin will assume this critical leadership role.”
McDonald succeeds Dr. Marcus Martin, who has served as the University’s vice president and chief officer for diversity, equity and inclusion since 2011, after having served as interim for two years before being named to the post. A member of the faculty since 1996, Martin is professor and past chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. He announced his retirement last fall and agreed to serve in the position until his successor is in place.
On April 12, Ryan and other members of the University community gathered near the Rotunda for a tree-planting ceremony honoring Martin for his service and dedication. The annual Founder’s Day tree-planting celebrates an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to the University community.
At Missouri, McDonald established its first diversity strategic plan that was integrated within the UM system’s overall strategic plan, and implemented a diversity certificate program and resources aimed at improving multicultural competencies, conflict-resolution skills and civility.
Search committee member Tierney Fairchild, executive director and cofounder of Resilience Education and a member of the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, said McDonald will be a great ambassador for the University.
“It’s clear Kevin is a relationship-builder, and I expect he will engage across all members of the UVA community – from students, faculty and staff, to alumni as well as the greater Charlottesville community,” Fairchild said. “Kevin’s experience building partnerships to achieve a vision for an inclusive community will be an asset to UVA – and he knows how to work in decentralized environments and how to listen and collaborate to achieve important results for students.”
Prior to his current roles at Missouri, McDonald was the vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion at the Rochester Institute of Technology from 2010 until 2016. He previously held two leadership positions at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University: director of the Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action from 2005 to 2007, and vice president for equity and inclusion from 2007 to 2010.
McDonald was the associate director for compliance/conflict resolution at Johns Hopkins University from 2001 to 2005, and worked in campus compliance roles at the University of Maryland, College Park from 1999 to 2001.
McDonald is an affiliate faculty member of the Race and Equity Institute at the University of Southern California. He is frequently asked to speak on the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion at national conferences and events, and was a member of the American Council on Education Free Speech/Inclusion Steering Committee.
He holds a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Rochester, a law degree from The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.