Gregory J. Vincent ’83, acclaimed civil rights attorney, professor and former HWS President, will lead a new, groundbreaking collaboration between the University of Kentucky and the NAACP.
This summer, Vincent begins his new role as executive director of the education, advocacy and research body committed to educational equity, civil rights and social justice. The initiative will be based in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky’s College of Education, where Vincent will join the faculty as a professor.
“This is the first time the NAACP has locked arms with university-based scholars in the education field to help address the racial inequities that continue to plague our education system,” says NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “These scholars will partner with students, educators, and communities to document the experiences of those facing educational disparities and use research to shape public policy. To see change, we must focus on discipline policies, school funding structures, college and career readiness initiatives, and growing our own great teachers in underserved communities.”
Vincent’s new position leading this innovative effort follows the conclusion of 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.
Vincent has devoted his career to equity and justice, both in education and in the wider public arena. His 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.
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. At UT-Austin, he presided over the university’s division of diversity and community engagement, now regarded as a national model. 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.
As Ohio’s assistant attorney general in the early 1990s, Vincent successfully argued several major civil rights cases before that state’s Supreme Court. He went on to serve as director for regional and legal affairs at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission in Cleveland and later as vice president and lead counsel for Bank One.