Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Bethel AME)
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was founded in 1857 and has been a beacon in the Ann Arbor, Michigan community. Their motto is God our Father, Christ our Redeemer, The Holy Spirit our Comforter, Humankind our Family. The mission of the AME Church is to minister to the social, spiritual, and physical development of all people under the leadership of The Right Reverend John F. White, Presiding Prelate, Reverend Larry J. Bell, Presiding Elder, and Reverend Mashod A. Evans Sr., Senior Pastor.
Brandon Bond (he/him/his) is an incoming second-year graduate student pursuing a dual-M.P.H./M.S.W. in health behavior and health education and global social work practice with a certificate in injury science. His current research and areas of interest involve injury and violence prevention, BIPOC and LGBTQI+ health equity, cultural and global conceptualizations of mental health, policy reform, and empowerment and capacity-building for individuals and organizations. Bond currently serves as a wellness coach for Wolverine Wellness, providing individual and group coaching sessions. This summer he will be interning at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their Global Violence Against Children and Youth branch and at U-M’s University Health Service as a public mental health intern. Additionally, he will be teaching an honors course on wellness this summer.
Melba Joyce Boyd
Native Detroiter, Melba Joyce Boyd, is an award-winning author of nine books of poetry, two literary biographies, and editor of two major poetry anthologies. On October 27, 1972, she gave her first poetry reading with Dudley Randall and Naomi Long Madgett at the Highland Park Public Library, and Randall published her poem, “1965,” in the prestigious Broadside Series, December 1972. He also wrote the introduction for her first collection of poetry, Cat Eyes and Deadwood (1978), that received a publishing award from the National Endowment of the Arts. Death Dance of a Butterfly received the 2014 Library of Michigan Notable Book Award for Poetry. Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press (Columbia University Press, 2004) received the American Library Association Black Caucus Honor for Nonfiction. She is the editor of Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall, which received multiples awards: the Independent Publishers Award, the Library of Michigan Top 20 books on Michigan History and Culture, the ForeWord Book Honor, and an NAACP Image Award Honor.
Melba Joyce Boyd was commissioned to write the official poem for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which is inscribed in the museum’s dedication wall, and she was recognized as the museum’s poet laureate in 2018. Lines from her poem, “We Want Our City Back,” are quoted in the sculpture, “Ascending: Michigan’s Tribute to Labor,” in Detroit’s Hart Plaza, and her poem, “Maple Red,” appears next to the painting by Ed Clark in the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 2007, The Coleman A. Young Foundation commissioned Boyd to compose a poem about Mayor Young, and “Phoenix Rising: Mayor Coleman Alexander Young,” was published as a broadside with an artistic rendering of Young by her daughter, Maya Wynn Boyd. Boyd’s image appears with Dudley Randall, Naomi Long Madgett, Robert Hayden, Phillip Levine, and other iconic Detroit poets in muralist Nicole MacDonald’s “Portrait Series,” in the historic Woodbridge neighborhood.
Boyd is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Wayne State University, which is an exclusive ranking in the academy. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 2019, she was elected to the Academy of Scholars, which is regarded as the highest recognition bestowed by one’s colleagues in the university. She is a Fulbright Scholar and she taught American literature at the University of Bremen in Germany (1982-83). Her book, Thirteen Frozen Flamingoes, was published by the university press. In 2009, she was a visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, Republic of China, where she taught a graduate seminar on African American literature.
Provost Susan M. Collins
Dr. Susan M. Collins is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan. She joined the Michigan faculty in 2007, serving as the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy until 2017. Currently she is the Edward M. Gramlich Collegiate Professor of Public Policy as well as a professor of economics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
An international macroeconomist, Dr. Collins has a lifelong interest in understanding and fostering policies to improve living standards in countries at all levels of development. Her research has examined determinants of economic growth, the roles of China and India in the global economy, cross-border financial integration, and linkages between trade and labor markets, among other topics. She edited the Brookings Trade Forum from 1999 to 2007. Dr. Collins teaches courses on international macroeconomics, trade, and economic development. In 2020, she will lead the Ford School’s global engagement seminar for undergraduates, a study-travel course focused on policy issues in Costa Rica. Dr. Collins has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago since 2015. She is also a board member of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has served as president of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, as a member of the American Economic Association (AEA) Executive Committee and as chair of the AEA’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession.
Prior to her appointment at Michigan, Dr. Collins was a professor of economics at Georgetown University and a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution (where she retains a non-resident affiliation). She started her career as a faculty member at Harvard University. She has also served as a senior economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, and as a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund. Dr. Collins received her undergraduate degree in economics, summa cum laude, from Harvard University and her doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Of Jamaican descent, Dr. Collins grew up in the United States and became a U.S. citizen in 1997.
monét cooper is a doctoral student, poet, and abolitionist in the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the academy, she spent 11 joyous years serving students and families in middle and high school English classrooms in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virgina. A Georgia Peach, from Decatur, she enjoys naps and eating German chocolate cake and misses museums, live theater, porch sits, and hugging her people back home. She has work forthcoming in This House Will Not Dismantle Itself: Critical Future in Education.
Katie Cox is a student in the M.S.W. program with a focus on community change. Cox is also the ombudsperson in the School of Social Work Student Union. She loves municipal government and has a passion for labor organizing. She lives with her partner, dog, and cat, and they make her world go round.
Frances Dean (she/her/hers) is an incoming second-year dual degree student pursuing a Master’s of Public Health in general epidemiology and a Master’s of Social Work in interpersonal practice in integrated health, mental health, and substance abuse, with a certificate focused on social epidemiology at the University of Michigan.
Her research and practice-based interests include minority health and health equity, health disparities, patient-centered research, community-based participatory research, interprofessional education (IPE), and mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders. Currently, Dean is a social work/adolescent and young adult hematology and oncology intern with the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the Department of Social Work at Michigan Medicine. She also collaborates with the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking, and Health (DASH) with the U-M School of Nursing.
She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in health promotion from the University of Georgia College of Public Health, where she was an undergraduate research assistant with the Social Technologies and Risk Reduction (STARR) Lab, working on projects related to social technologies, mental health, sexual health, and substance abuse on a local and global level. After receiving her B.S.H.P. degree, she worked as a public health advisor under the Public Health Associates Program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington, D.C. Her work consisted of viral hepatitis surveillance, STD/STI epidemiologic investigations, and post-assessment improvement for interventional training and development courses. For her upcoming public health internship in the summer of 2022, she will be working with the Department of Defense (DoD) as a graduate research intern focusing on addressing health disparities in military personnel. She will also work with the DoD as an interdisciplinary health scientist upon graduation with both of her M.P.H. and M.S.W. degrees.
Michelle Dennis was born and raised in Washtenaw County, MI. She graduated from Pioneer High School in 2007, and then furthered her studies in business administration at Charleston Southern University where she played college soccer. Dennis earned Rookie of the Year and Second Team All Conference awards in the Big South Conference while playing soccer. After graduating in 2011, Dennis returned to Washtenaw County to begin her professional career. She is currently a legal advocate and counselor at SafeHouse Center.
Dennis was also raised in the Baptist Church, where she learned and found her passion in praise dancing. She and her family are very active members at New Progressive Missionary Baptist Church where Keith D. Wilson, Sr. is the pastor. Dennis serves as a choir member, youth leader, and vice president of the Nurse’s Ministry. While involved in many activities at the church, she developed a purpose in sharing her ministry through dance.
Tariq Gardner, is an electrifying drummer, composer, and educator steeped in the rich music traditions of his home city, Detroit, MI. Reared in an artistic family, his mother, bassist Marion Hayden, and father, painter and sculptor M. Saffell Gardner, greatly impacted his musical knowledge and artistic vision. Gardner’s creative practice centers the Black American music traditions of jazz, neo-soul, and hip-hop as compositional vehicles with an emphasis on explorative live performance with his group Evening Star.
Gardner is a 2018 graduate of the U-M Deptartment of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation. He has served as the drummer for the John Douglas Quartet from 2017 to 2019, led groups at the Charles H. Wright Museum’s African World Fest in both 2017 and 2018, has performed with the Detroit Jazz Fest All Star Alumni Band (a three-month residency featuring pianist Cameron Graves in 2019), performed at the Detroit Jazz Festival (2018 to 2020), and at the Cape May Jazz Festival (2019). As an educator, Tariq is a performance facilitator for the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan and is a program assistant for the Geri Allen Jazz Camp in Newark, NJ. He also manages his own private drum studio and continues to work as a drummer, composer, educator, and bandleader.
Trey Gates (He/Him/His) is a Master’s of Social Work candidate focusing on interpersonal practice, health, mental health, and substance abuse. He is the president of the Association of Black Social Work Students. He serves as the assistant to the anti-racism coordinator on behalf of the U-M School of Social Work.
He received his B.A. in psychology from Morehouse College. Gates has had the opportunity to participate in community outreach and mental health services between his undergraduate and graduate studies. He currently serves as a clinical social work intern at StoneCrest Center, facilitating case management, group sessions, and other day-to-day operations at the behavioral hospital.
President William Hampton – NAACP Ann Arbor Branch
William Hampton was born in 1948 in Tyler, Texas, and his grandmother was the midwife. He remembers attending church revival picnics, the Texas Rose Festival, and the Juneteenth parade in his hometown. While attending college in Arlington, Texas, he was active in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He went on to launch a Section 8 subsidized housing program in Arlington and in Ann Arbor, where he worked in the community development office. Mr. Hampton has been president of the Ann Arbor chapter of the NAACP since 2005.
Vice President Martino Harmon
Dr. Martino Harmon was appointed vice president for student life in March 2020. Previously, he served as senior vice president for student affairs at Iowa State University. In this role, he provided strategic leadership to the division, which encompasses a broad and diverse portfolio of units, offices, and teams on campus that is unique to Iowa State University when compared to other institutions. During his leadership, he created an organizational structure that groups like departments into smaller management units, led by assistant and associate vice presidents, that are directly aligned with division priorities. These units include the Dean of Students Office, Student Success, Student Health and Wellness, Department of Residence, ISU Dining, Memorial Union, and Enrollment Management (enrollment was recently realigned to be a part of Academic Affairs).
His previous appointment at Iowa State University began in 2013 as associate vice president for student affairs. In this role, Dr. Harmon oversaw Enrollment Services, Admissions, Student Financial Aid, Learning Communities, Educational Talent Search, and Upward Bound programs, as well as the Student Affairs budget and human resources operations. Prior to serving at Iowa State University, Dr. Harmon was executive director of student success and retention at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, in Ohio, dean of student development at Rhodes State College, in Lima, Ohio, dean of admission, retention, and student life at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and held various leadership positions at the University of Toledo in Ohio.
Dr. Harmon is a member of the National Association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) and served on the faculty for the 2019 NASPA Institute for Aspiring Vice Presidents for Student Affairs, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Council on Student Affairs and currently serves as chair of their program planning committee, as well as the American Association of Universities (AAU) Senior Student Affairs Officers and served as co-chair of the 2020 conference planning committee. He is a board member of the Dr. Melvin C. Terrell Educational Foundation, Inc. During his time in Ohio, he held regional and state offices with American College Testing (ACT), the College Board, and the Ohio Board of Regents’ committee on college access. He stays involved in community leadership, serving on the board of directors for YSS and United Way of Story County. Dr. Harmon earned his doctoral degree in higher education and administration (2013), a master’s in education (1998), and a bachelor of business administration degree (1987) from the University of Toledo.
Marion Hayden is one of the nation’s finest proponents of the acoustic bass. Mentored by master trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, Hayden began performing jazz at the age of 15. She has performed with such diverse luminaries as Bobby McFerrin, Nancy Wilson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Geri Allen, Regina Carter, Steve Turre, Lester Bowie, David Allen Grier, James Carter, Dorothy Donegan, Joe Williams, Lionel Hampton, Frank Morgan, Jon Hendricks, Hank Jones, Bobby Hutcherson, Larry Willis, Sheila Jordan, Mulgrew Miller, Annie Ross, and many others.
Hayden’s creative practice centers around her ensemble Legacy. Formed in 2003, Legacy performs original and narrative-driven compositional works within the framework of improvised music with an emphasis on diasporan music traditions. She is a co-founder of the touring jazz ensemble Straight Ahead, the first all-woman jazz ensemble signed to Atlantic Records and a member of the Detroit International Jazz Festival All-Star Ambassadors touring ensemble.
Elizabeth James is the program associate in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS). James assists with the department’s many programs and objectives as well as performs as its outreach coordinator. She schedules and coordinates events as well as publicizes various campus activities. She also helps coordinate DAAS outreach programs through its Community Engaged Learning component, including study abroad programs and working with the Center for Educational Outreach’s Future U and the Wolverine Express initiatives. James was named a 2014 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award recipient, as well as Advisor of the Year by the Office of Student Affairs and has been awarded the Cornerstone Award from the Black Celebratory, among other honors for her service and dedication to DAAS and the student community. James says she most cherishes her extracurricular work as the Black Student Union Adviser, serving as a committee member for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium and working with Camp Michitanki, the U-M Transplant Center for young recipients like herself, as the resident storyteller.
Clare Lauer (she/her) is a master’s student in the University of Michigan School of Social Work studying interpersonal practice in integrated health, mental health, and substance abuse. She is also a scholar in the Jewish Communal Leadership Program through the School of Social Work, and a member of the leadership team for the U-M chapter of the national organization Showing Up for Racial Justice.
Hannah Lefton is from Atlanta, Georgia and is currently studying law and social work at the University of Michigan. Her specializations are in community change, criminal justice, and public interest law. Lefton is passionate about criminal legal reform and restorative justice practices, especially those that empower individuals with disabilities in the legal system. After graduation, she plans to work as a criminal defense attorney with a social work lens, providing holistic services to her clients and dismantling systems of oppression on a case-by-case basis.
Michigan Gospel Chorale
Michigan Gospel Chorale (MGC) is a faith-based, multicultural group that aims to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through music. They use their God-given talents and abilities to share God with others both on and off campus. MGC is open to students, faculty, and any others who want to join. Michigan Gospel Chorale has auxiliary groups, as well: “Images of Praise” dance ministry, “T.R.U.S.T.” spoken word ministry, “Prophetic Interpreters” mime ministry, and “H.A.N.D.S.” sign language ministry. They hold concerts on and off campus, fun mingling events, and give back through community service. Their biggest event of the year is the annual Spring Break Tour where they travel nationwide, and even internationally, to churches and schools to minister. They are dedicating their gifts back to God and sharing God’s love with others at the same time.
Blake Newman (she/they) is a 12-month advanced standing 2021 M.S.W. candidate with a pathway of community change in the U-M School of Social Work. She is a part of the National Community Scholar Program. Blake received her Bachelor’s of Science in social work from Defiance College, where she was a Pilgrim Medal Award winner, a Mallot Service Award winner, and a McMaster Scholar. While attending Defiance College she developed a passion for social justice and equity in community development and poverty alleviation. She hopes to pursue a career, after completing her M.S.W., in the equitable development and community engagement sector of social work.
Imani Russell is a Master’s of Social Work student and is enrolled in the interpersonal practice in health care pathway. Currently, Russell is working with the Michigan Community Scholars Program at U-M as the coordinator of diversity initiatives.
Previous to joining the M.S.W. program, Russell completed a bachelor’s degree in English at Earlham College and an M.A. in comparative literature at the University of Kent, Canterbury, U.K. Upon graduating with her M.A, Russell worked as a graduate admissions counselor at a small school in Indiana.
Russell is passionate about working to de-stigmatize sexuality and mental health in the Black community and sees her writing as a way to help make what is often regarded as “academic knowledge” more accessible. After graduating, her long-term goal is to become an Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) certified licensed sex educator and sex therapist. Upon completing ACCET certification, Russell hopes to work to help build a better network of support for people recently diagnosed with incurable STIs and STDs, in order to support them in facilitating a happy and healthy sex life post-diagnosis. In her free time, she likes to bike and enjoys taking walks with her cat, Boogie.
Ashley Sapp (she, her, hers) is an incoming second-year Master’s of Social Work graduate student, specializing in interpersonal practice in integrated health, mental health, and substance abuse. Her current areas of interest involve community resilience, trauma-informed care, LGBTQIA2S+ health, mental health crisis response reform, and strength-based wellness practices. Sapp currently serves in the field communication role for Black Radical Healing Pathways. She also works as an intern and social practitioner with Fresh Start Clubhouse, an organization supporting adults living with mental illness.
Tylonn J. Sawyer
Tylonn J. Sawyer is an American multidisciplinary artist, educator, and curator. Trained in figurative arts-based practices, Sawyer’s work juxtaposes themes of identity—both individual and collective—with investigations of race and history in popular culture. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sawyer has been included in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad including the Venice Biennale, Italy, Texas A & M University, Texas, The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, The Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan, Heron Arts, San Francisco, Kravets/Wehby Gallery, Rush Arts, and The New York Academy of Art, New York, among others. Sawyer holds an M.F.A. in painting from the New York Academy of Art Graduate School of Figurative Art program and a B.F.A. (drawing and painting) from Eastern Michigan University. Sawyer currently lives and works in Detroit, Michigan.
Tanner Schudlich (he/him/they/them) is a master’s student at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. His studies focus on community change with a particular interest in collective cultural reproduction. He graduated from Central Michigan University (CMU) in 2017 with a degree in family studies and applied linguistics. During his undergraduate career, Tanner worked as a resident assistant and multicultural advisor with the CMU Office of Residence Life, as well as a programming intern with the CMU Office of LGBTQ+ Services. Shortly after his graduation, Tanner joined the Departments of Romance and Classical Studies and Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures at Michigan State University (MSU) where he worked with the units’ graduate students. In addition to his role in these academic units, Tanner participated in several DEI-focused committees in the College of Arts & Letters and the university as a whole.
Since he began professionally working in higher education, Tanner has taken interest in workplace culture and, in turn, has designed and hosted several workshops for the MSU College of Arts & Letters professional staff on topics including burnout, value-guided living, navigating grief, and mindfulness. Currently, Tanner works with the Social Workers in Higher Education National Affinity Group to establish support networks for social work practitioners in the field of higher education. Ultimately, Tanner’s goal is to develop educational interventions and tools to help drive positive, critical culture change within communities and organizations by empowering stakeholders to examine and interrogate the systems they live in.
Chief Diversity Officer Robert Sellers
Dr. Robert Sellers is the vice provost for equity and inclusion, chief diversity officer, and the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Education at the University of Michigan. As vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, Dr. Sellers works with the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on matters related to diversity at the university, as well as a broad range of academic issues including the budget, faculty tenure and promotions, and student enrollment. He oversees operations of three central administrative units.
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Sellers attended Howard University where he earned All-America honors in football. After graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in 1985, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in personality psychology from U-M in 1990. Following his graduate work, Dr. Sellers served as an assistant and an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. In 1997, Dr. Sellers returned to the University of Michigan to continue his research and teaching efforts. He served four years as the associate chair of the Department of Psychology before serving as department chair from 2011 to 2014.
Dr. Sellers’ primary research activities have focused on the role of race in the psychological lives of African Americans. He and his students have developed a conceptual and empirical model of African American racial identity. The model has been used by a number of researchers in the field to understand the heterogeneity in the significance and meaning that African Americans place on race in defining themselves. Dr. Sellers and his students have also investigated the processes by which African American parents transmit messages about race to their children. Finally, his research has examined the ways in which African Americans suffer from and often cope with experiences of racial discrimination. Over the years, he and his graduate students have published extensively on the topic. In addition to his research on the role of race in the lives of African Americans, Dr. Sellers has frequently published research examining the life experiences of student athletes. He is also one of the founders of the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context. The center conducts state-of-the-art, action-oriented research on the healthy development of African American youth, as well as provides an important training ground for future researchers.
Dr. Sellers has received significant recognition for his research and teaching. He is a past president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45 of the American Psychological Association). He is a fellow of Division 8 (Society for Personality and Social Psychology) and Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race) of the American Psychological Association as well as a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. He also won numerous honors and awards including the Theodore Millon Mid-Career Award in Personality Psychology from the American Psychological Foundation, the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program Research Achievement Award, and the APAGS Kenneth & Mamie Clark Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Professional Development of Ethnic Minority Graduate Students.
Dean Mike Solomon
Mike Solomon is a professor of chemical engineering, professor of macromolecular science and engineering, dean of Rackham Graduate School, and vice provost for academic affairs – graduate studies at the University of Michigan. He was previously the Dow Corning assistant professor of chemical engineering and has been a member of the Michigan faculty since 1997.
Prior to joining Michigan, Solomon was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering and economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1990 and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1996. He was a Rotary Foundation International Fellow in economics at the Université d’Aix-Marseille II, Aix-en-Provence, France from 1990 to 1991. Solomon’s research interests are in the area of complex fluids and soft matter—soft materials with properties intermediate between fluids and solids. He and his group have been recognized for their application of confocal microscopy direct visualization tools to understand the assembly and function of soft matter, including the yielding of colloidal gels, the self-assembly of anisotropic colloids, field-assisted colloidal crystallization, and the microrheology of bacterial biofilms. His teaching interests have included development of undergraduate courses in polymer science and engineering, molecular engineering, and chemical engineering process economics, as well as graduate electives in nano and colloidal assembly and light scattering.
Solomon has received the College of Engineering 1938E Award (2002), the University of Michigan Russel Award (2003), the U-M ASEE Outstanding Professor of the Year Award (2006), the University of Michigan’s Faculty Recognition Award (2008), and the COE Education Excellence Award (2010). He has been recipient of the NSF CAREER award, 3M’s non-Tenured Faculty award, and the 2011 Soft Matter Lectureship from the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Soft Matter. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. Solomon previously chaired the Society of Rheology’s Education Committee and its Metzner Award Committee, as well as the Fluid Mechanics Programming Committee of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He is currently a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Rheologica Acta and past Editorial Board member of Langmuir. From 2012 to 2017 he was associate dean for academic programs and initiatives at Rackham Graduate School. He was named dean of Rackham Graduate School and vice provost for academic affairs – graduate studies in July 2018.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Gregory Thomas, began his collegiate journey as a first-generation college student at Henry Ford and Oakland Community Colleges where he earned two associate degrees respectively from each institution. Afterwards, he attended Madonna University where he discovered his passion for working with students in higher education. His work with first-gens and students of color, particularly men of color, earned him multiple award recognitions. After completing his Master of Arts degree in higher education/student affairs from Eastern Michigan University, Greg served as an academic advisor and interim coordinator for the Center for Multicultural Affairs at EMU where he led in various multicultural events and cultural heritage programs designed to intentionally educate the campus about diversity and promote access and equity in higher education. He also coordinated multiple initiatives that engaged and increased retention and degree completion for students of color while fostering a stronger sense of community. In 2018, he continued this work at the University of Michigan in the Office Academic Multicultural Initiatives (OAMI), serving as a Program Manager for the Men of Color Leading in the Classroom (M-CLIC) program, which is designed to improve the recruitment, skills, and retention of men of color in the School of Education, pursuing a career in K-12 teaching. He is also the co-chair of the U-M MLK Symposium, coordinator of the Black Celebratory graduation program, and serves as a success coach for the SuccessConnects program in OAMI. Greg is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated (Theta Zeta Lambda Chapter in Ann Arbor) and now serves as the director of educational activities for the chapter. This is all while standing on the strong backs and shoulders of his ancestors, breaking glass ceilings, and unraveling the gifts that God has given him to impact the future generation. He is happily married to his high school friend, Isa and proud father of his three year old daughter, Peyton.
Ozi Uduma is the assistant curator of global contemporary art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA). Uduma is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She was born and raised in Detroit and is of Nigerian descent. Uduma is the curator of the exhibition Unsettling Histories: Legacies of Slavery and Colonialism (opening fall 2021) and the co-curator of We Write to You About Africa (opening fall 2021). Uduma’s art interest mostly focuses on modern and contemporary Black artists.
The University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club
Founded in 1859, the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club is the second oldest collegiate chorus in the United States and the oldest continually-run student organization on the Michigan campus. Long acclaimed as one of the finest male choruses in the world, the Glee Club has achieved this stature by sustaining and respecting the traditions which have been established during its 160-year history.
The graduate and undergraduate members of the Glee Club, chosen by audition, represent a wide spectrum of majors in a majority of the university’s 19 schools and colleges and its student officers are responsible for the management of all non-musical Glee Club operations. The Glee Club has become renowned for its wide repertoire of music that incorporates selections from different musical styles and periods including Renaissance motets, Romantic anthems, opera choruses, folk songs, spirituals, contemporary works, and, of course, Michigan songs. The Friars, an eight- or nine-member subset of the Glee Club, are in their 64th year and serve as an extension of the club as they maintain an ambitious performing schedule.
Deputy Chief Diversity Officer Katrina Wade-Golden
Dr. Katrina Wade-Golden is deputy chief diversity officer within the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), as well as director of implementation for the Campuswide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan. She brings over 25 years of administrative and research experience working with complex longitudinal datasets and has broad expertise leading research and strategy engagements in the corporate, higher education, and non-profit sectors, utilizing a wide range of qualitative and quantitative techniques. Dr. Wade-Golden possesses particular expertise in the areas of measurement, questionnaire design, social psychology, organizational dynamics, institutional diversity, and complex data analyses. Her research interests are in the areas of organizational behavior and management, strategic planning, leadership development, change management, the impact of diversity and affirmative action on organizations, conflict resolution, stress, and work-family conflict. She has published numerous articles, essays, monographs, and reports in these areas, and has published a book (2013), The Chief Diversity Officer: Strategy, Structure, and Change Management (co-authored with Damon A. Williams), that chronicles the work of an ongoing research project focused on chief diversity officers at nearly 800 institutions across the country, and is the first publication to fully explicate the role of chief diversity officers in higher education.
Dr. Wade-Golden has presented at hundreds of national, regional, and local conferences on issues related to diversity and multiculturalism, organizational change, gender, racism, and affirmative action. She holds the Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees in industrial/ organizational psychology from Wayne State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in psychology, with an emphasis in human resources and organizational development. Dr. Wade-Golden has consulted to a wide array of higher education, private sector, and corporate institutions.
Larry James Walker II
Larry James Walker II is both a classically trained vocal powerhouse and an anointed contemporary worship leader who has performed for audiences all over the world. His voice has been featured in both domestic and international music releases as well as theatrical productions with celebrated success. He is also a gifted songwriter and co-producer of vocal music impacting the genres of television and film, musical theater, pop, R&B, contemporary Christian, and inspirational music.
With a warm, soulful, and passionate tone reminiscent of the great singers who have gone before him, many have compared Walker’s gift to that of vocal heavyweights such as Luther Vandross, Donny Hathaway, and Fred Hammond. Yet Walker consistently defines a sound that is his own and a voice that stands alone as a pure joy to encounter. With relentless passion for and dedication to the craft of performance, Walker works with singers at all ages and professional levels, developing their technique, confidence, and sound, helping each student a shape career that is based on being their most authentic self on-stage and beyond. Walker has quickly become a highly sought-after clinician and coach to recording artists, producers, and vocal ensembles across the country, even garnering international praise from other countries in which his students reside. Walker’s unique approach to developing the human singing voice, learned while forging his own career as an artist, has given him a coveted edge in the realm of vocal pedagogy. Students receive sound instruction on vocal technique and examine the application of these methods to engage in a more communicative and enriched performance.