Gregory J. Vincent ’83, acclaimed civil rights attorney, professor and former HWS President, will direct a new diversity leadership program at the University of Kentucky, where he also heads a groundbreaking collaboration between the university and the NAACP.
Gregory J. Vincent ’83 was recently named director for the Senior Diversity Officer Leadership Graduate Certificate program at the University of Kentucky. The program — part of a new, innovative doctoral specialization at the university’s College of Education — is designed to prepare scholars for diversity, equity and inclusion senior leadership roles in higher education settings and related fields.
Vincent, a professor in the UK Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, was appointed last August as executive director of the university’s Education and Civil Rights Initiative in collaboration with the NAACP. He recently discussed his work in a wide-ranging interview with the University of Kentucky.
In the interview, Vincent outlines the initiative’s community-based approach, the role of the law in promoting civil rights and the ways faculty scholarship can be used to help advance educational equity. He notes that the initiative is “working with some school districts, both in Kentucky and around the country, addressing some systemic issues. We are looking at how we address the achievement gap. How we ensure that all teachers are teaching the full spectrum and that they’re treating all students with respect and dignity. We are asking how we build community. That’s one of the common denominators because, as we know, schools in almost every community are really the center of life. So, how do we build community there?”
Vincent’s scholarship and teaching explore issues of educational equity and access, as well as diversity in higher education, engagement between communities and universities, and workplace discrimination.
Vincent joined the University of Kentucky in 2020 following his tenure as the 48th Grand Sire Archon (CEO and Chairman) of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (The Boulé), the nation’s oldest, Black Greek-lettered organization. Serving in that role from 2018 to 2020, Vincent executed the Fraternity’s strategic plan and implemented robust agendas around social action, growth and expansion, and consequential philanthropy on behalf of Black people in the U.S. and the African diaspora.
He joined Hobart and William Smith Colleges as President in 2017 after serving at The University of Texas at Austin as vice president for diversity and community engagement, W.K. Kellogg Professor of Community College Leadership and Professor of Law. In 2016, Vincent played a major role in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, in which the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the use of affirmative action in higher education.