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11-YEAR TENURE: UT diversity czar Gregory Vincent leaving to lead alma mater, Hobart

After more than a decade of diversity and community work at the University of Texas, this semester will be Gregory J. Vincent’s last, before he takes on presidential duties at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, his alma mater.

During his time at UT, Vincent created several initiatives to help foster diversity and inclusion on and off the Forty Acres.

In one of the most controversial moments of his tenure, he and UT President Gregory L. Fenves oversaw the removal of the statue of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis from where it stood for 82 years on the Main Mall.

He was also involved with several campus and local organizations and played a key role in the Fisher v. UT case that went to the Supreme Court.

Thursday’s announcement of Vincent leaving was a surprise to much of the UT community.

“Though it is very difficult to see 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,” Fenves wrote in a message to the UT community.

“As you can imagine, the decision to leave UT was a difficult one,” Vincent said in his own statement. “The University of Texas at Austin has always been an exciting, fulfilling place to be. I love UT Austin and the only place for which I could leave this university is my alma mater.”

Vincent was the first person at UT to serve as the vice president for diversity and community engagement, where he has worked to improve the university’s inclusion for the last 11 years.

As vice president, Vincent oversaw the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) and helped write the division’s first strategic plan, as well as the university diversity and inclusion action plan, which outlined eight key focus areas: university leadership, campus climate and culture, students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community, pre-k through 12th grade and communication, assessment and accountability. 

This semester, Vincent and the DDCE celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the division with a series of 30 events that will continue throughout the year, even after Vincent has left.

In addition to his leadership with the DDCE, Vincent has also taught legal courses at UT over the past 10 years. The final course he taught at UT was “Race and Law” this semester, which examined the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender and class within American law.

Fenves said Vincent’s involvement in the Fisher v. UT Supreme Court case was one of the most powerful memories he has of working with Vincent.

“When the court later ruled in our favor, it was a victory for UT, and a victory for students across the nation,” Fenves wrote in his email. “Dr. Gregory Vincent helped make it possible.”

Vincent’s last day at UT is July 16. “During the next few months, I will be working closely with President Fenves and continuing work on a number of important initiatives on campus and in the community,” Vincent said.

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