A surprising thing happened over the last decade. I became a Texan. Whether it was the culture, the food, the hospitality or the people, Austin became home. As Texas has become part of my family, we too became part of it.
In the weeks before I made the decision to return to my alma mater to serve as President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, this realization made leaving all the more difficult and with that came plenty of nostalgia for my second home, the DDCE. As we are in the midst of our 10-year celebration, one particular memory I have returned to frequently is that of the division’s origin. Back in 2006, I had been at the university for only a short time and was called into the office of the university’s new president, William C. Powers. In that meeting he presented his vision for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement – a robust vice presidential portfolio that was to become the most comprehensive unit of its kind. He wanted to think big, like all things in Texas.
Following the meeting I was at a lunch and it was there that I began sketching the initial design of the DDCE on the back of a napkin. Ten years later, that sketch has grown from a vision to our reality. The DDCE is the preeminent division across all of higher education that is dedicated to the issues of diversity and community engagement. Celebrating our decade on campus, this issue of Access & Excellence encompasses the many programs, partnerships and initiatives that fulfill the university’s core purpose: to transform lives for the benefit of society. From a feature highlighting 10 programs that are preparing students for their future careers to profiles on researchers who are bridging disparities in healthcare and education.
This division has reached heights I never could have imaged. As I prepare to depart later this summer, I hope that I’ll get to say goodbye to each and every one of you. Whether it be on campus or at one of our many upcoming community events, please come visit with me and share some of your memories of the DDCE, for those are what I will miss the most.
Dr. Gregory J. Vincent
Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
W.K. Kellogg Professor in Community College Leadership
Professor of Law