Chief Diversity Officer named at A-State

JONESBORO – Maurice Gipson becomes the first cabinet-level chief diversity officer for Arkansas State University, Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced Friday.

Gipson served the past three years as an assistant vice chancellor for diversity, and his area, the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, will now report directly to the Chancellor’s Office.

“Because Arkansas State University is dedicated to the ideals of community and inclusive excellence, it is vital that our chief diversity officer has direct and regular interaction with the chancellor, and a seat at the leadership table,” Damphousse said. “Dr. Gipson has done outstanding work for Arkansas State. His new role will position him to be a key player in enhancing our efforts to recruit and retain a diverse faculty, staff, and student body.”

Among the areas Gipson will manage for A-State are enhanced recruitment of students, faculty and staff from diverse communities. He will also provide additional leadership for university initiatives such as the Campus Climate Council, outreach to local, state and regional diverse communities, and serve on the chancellor’s Executive Council.

“I appreciate the confidence Dr. Damphousse has shown in me for this position, but more so his commitment to elevating the discussion of matters related to diversity at Arkansas State University,” Gipson said. “I am looking ahead to the challenges of restoring our historic enrollment levels from the minority community and expanding the opportunities for persons representing the wide range of diverse backgrounds to become a part of A-State.”

Gipson will continue his existing programs, including advising peer mentoring groups such as Brother-2-Brother, spearheading two faculty development programs (A-State Advance and the Future Faculty Initiative), cultivating new schools for the HBCU Graduate School Pipeline Initiative, and working with area high schools to increase participation in the suite of programming within the College Access and Readiness Initiative. He is also a member of the Chancellor’s Commission on Completion.

“Dr. Gipson will also help lead our efforts to ensure that our campus climate remains committed to ensuring that all members of the A-State family feel welcomed and supported in their professional development,” Damphousse said. “He will be one of the key torchbearers who will help us fulfill our commitment that Every Red Wolf Counts.”

Gipson joined Arkansas State in January 2015 after spending two years at the University of Texas at Austin where he managed and coordinated the vice president’s strategic minority mentoring initiatives as a member of the senior staff.

The native of Ferriday, La., also oversaw several strategic initiatives and community projects and evaluated the effectiveness of unit planning and strategy outcomes.

Before joining UT-Austin, Gipson served in various development and fundraising capacities at Wiley College, Huston-Tillotson University and Langston University.

He was the diversity student coordinator at LSU from 2001-06. While there he developed the university’s student diversity plan and provided training on diversity issues to students, staff and faculty. He also created and maintained a database of over 5,000 minority students and provided statistical analysis trends to the administration.

Gipson earned his juris doctor degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge in 2010 and his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in English, history, African and African American studies. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in history at the University of Memphis.
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