In a letter to the campus community of the University of Texas, President Gregory L. Fenves announced that Dr. Gregory J. Vincent ‘83, UT’s vice president for diversity and community engagement, would be leaving his position in Austin to serve as the next president of his alma mater Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In his announcement, Fenves shares a powerful memory of his colleague during the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case of Fisher v. University of Texas that upheld the use of affirmative action in higher education as well as reflects on Vincent’s impact on the UT campus.
The full text of Fenves letter to the community can be read below:
Dear UT Community,
I write to inform you that Dr. Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, will be leaving The University of Texas to serve as president of his alma mater, Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state, effective July 16.
Though it is very difficult to see such an accomplished leader depart our university, I know that Dr. Vincent will flourish in his new role and continue to transform the lives of students — just as he has done for so many years at UT.
At UT, Dr. Vincent was the first person to serve as vice president for diversity and community engagement. Over the course of his 11 years as VP, he elevated our university’s commitment to inclusion in many ways, by implementing substantive programs and initiatives, improving our engagement with communities throughout the state and serving as a champion for the rights, beliefs and perspectives of all UT students, faculty members and staff members.
Throughout his tenure, Dr. Vincent developed innovative approaches to recruit and support diverse faculty members and graduate students. He has strengthened academic support for students of color, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and first-generation college students. And last month, with Dr. Vincent leading the effort, UT released the University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, which serves as a blueprint for how we can continue to create a more equitable and inclusive experience for students, faculty members and staff members of all backgrounds.
One of the most powerful memories I have from our time working together was of walking beside Dr. Vincent on the front steps of the U.S. Supreme Court after the oral arguments in the Fisher v. University of Texas case in 2015. Dr. Vincent was central to UT’s successful effort to uphold the use of race and ethnicity as part of our admissions process, and we walked out of the court that day, together, proud that we had made the argument in support of the educational benefits of diversity. When the court later ruled in our favor, it was a victory for UT and a victory for students across the nation. Dr. Gregory Vincent helped make it possible.
So, before the semester ends, I encourage you to seek out Dr. Vincent and congratulate him on the tremendous service he provided to our university, and wish him well on the next phase of his impactful career. The legacy of his leadership will continue to shape our university for many years to come.