Brookhaven’s Oglethorpe University has named its first vice president for “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” Laura Renée Chandler will begin the role March 5. 

Laura Renée Chandler, Oglethorpe University’s new vice president for “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

University President Nicholas Ladany announced the new leadership role along with the formation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force in July 2020 amid national protests against racial injustice and the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd. 

Chandler now serves as the director for Diversity and Community at the University of South Dakota. She is also the co-founder of the South Dakota Coalition for Justice and Equity and served as the director for the South Dakota African American History Museum. 

As a first-generation college graduate, I believe strongly in the power of education to improve our lives and transform the society in which we live,” Chandler said in a press release. “It is an exciting opportunity to join an institution that not only values creating transformative student experiences, but also is actively demonstrating an appreciation for diversity, equity and inclusion.”

As vice president, Chandler will report to Ladany and advise the administration on policies that “reflect the core values of the university and systemically embed diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout Oglethorpe,” according to the university’s website. She will also be in charge of reviewing current diversity programs and policies at the university. 

Oglethorpe University is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion as an institutional core value,” Ladany said in the release. “Dr. Chandler brings a level of experience and expertise that will be invaluable as we work to ensure that our campus environment reflects this core value.”