Leonard N. Moore, a University of Texas history professor whose classes have included “Race in the Age of Obama” and “Race in the Age of Trump,” has been named the school’s vice president for diversity and community engagement.
Moore joined the faculty in 2007 and was the senior associate vice president for diversity and community engagement, managing about 30 programs and initiatives, from 2013 until a year ago, when he became interim vice president.
“He reaches out to people in all walks of life and builds connections with them,” UT President Gregory L. Fenves said Wednesday in a message to the university community. “He is a brilliant scholar who inspires those around him, and he listens — to students, faculty members and staff members. That’s why he’s the right person for this role.”
Moore’s appointment is effective July 1. The position involves a broad portfolio that includes goals of improving student body and faculty diversity, residence hall life and overall campus culture. The job dates to 2004, when then-President Larry Faulkner established the position of vice provost for inclusion and cross-cultural effectiveness. Faulkner’s successor, Bill Powers, elevated the position to the vice president level, broadened the portfolio and retitled the job.
UT strives to be a national leader in promoting diversity, but it also labors under a legacy of discrimination. Founded for white students, it didn’t admit a black student until 1950, and then only by order of the U.S. Supreme Court. The school’s consideration of race in admissions is facing a lawsuit in state court after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2016 that upheld the practice.
Boosting black enrollment has been one of UT’s most frustrating challenges. Blacks made up 4.4 percent of last fall’s entering freshman class, about what the entering freshman classes have averaged since 1995.
Moore said in a statement that he looks forward to “launching a series of new initiatives around the concept of inclusive innovation. These new programs will help us maintain a healthy campus climate and allow us to serve as a connector and incubator for leaders tackling some of our greatest social challenges.”
Moore also is chairman of the Austin Area Urban League.
He succeeds Gregory J. Vincent, who left to become president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York. Vincent resigned that post in April after an allegation that he plagiarized part of his doctoral dissertation. However, the University of Pennsylvania, which granted the degree, allowed him to make revisions.