Taifha Alexander, JD, is from a low-income, racially diverse, single parent, immigrant household in Jamaica, New York. While her family is predominantly Jamaican and Cuban, Taifha's heritage also includes German, Irish, and Indigenous American ancestry. Taifha's diverse background and the injustices she witnessed between people in her neighborhood and the police contributed to her decision to enroll in the legal studies program at St. John's University in Queens, New York. While at St. John's University, Taifha combined her passion for diversity and the law by teaching 900 students, faculty, and staff about the importance of inclusion and equity. Taifha followed her passion to law school at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. Taifha utilized her legal skills to advocate for marginalized students. Her published legal note, "We Can't Breathe: How Top Law Schools Can Resuscitate an Inclusive Climate for Minority & Low-Income Students," provides tangible recommendations to assist top law schools in creating an inclusive climate for their most vulnerable student populations. After graduating cum laude with a JD from Georgetown University Law Center, Taifha accepted a position with University of South Carolina Aiken as Assistant Director of Student Life for Diversity Initiatives where she advanced diversity initiatives like establishing a university-wide diversity statement, facilitating workshops on handling hot moments for faculty and increasing the number of all-gender restrooms from 2 to 26. Taifha is also the former UCLA Graduate Division Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives Coordinator where she focused her efforts in cultivating sense of belonging for more than 12,000 PhD and Masters candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. As Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity & Leadership Development at Wofford College, Taifha has leveraged her legal training and experience as a subject matter on diversity, inclusion and equity to advance antiracism work throughout the College.
Dr. Begoña Caballero-García obtained her Ph.D in Spanish and Latin American literature at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is an Associate Professor in Spanish Studies at Wofford College and also Wofford College’s first Dean of Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Caballero García has presented more than 30 papers in national and international conferences. Her research interests focus on inclusive pedagogy and teaching through the lens of social justice. As Dean, Begoña is in charge of crafting strategies to increase and support curricular and co-curricular diversity, support faculty development around inclusive pedagogies and equity, and leading and coordinating diversity planning, among other tasks. For the last nine years, in her free time, Begoña has volunteered as an anti-poverty advocate with the non-profit organization, RESULTS.
Dr. Christine Sorrell Dinkins is the Kenan Professor of Philosophy and a recipient of Wofford’s Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of the Humanities and Social Sciences. She holds a B.A. from Wake Forest University and a PhD in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. She teaches Ancient Western philosophy, phenomenology, and philosophy in practice, all with a focus on interpersonal ethics and community and environmental responsibility. She is committed to teaching and modeling philosophy as a path toward justice, equity, and care. She is an experienced Socratic facilitator and has served as facilitator for values-driven strategic visioning at Wofford and in the healthcare sector. She is co-author of two books, Listening to the Whispers: Re-thinking Ethics in Healthcare (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005) and Our Dissertations, Ourselves: Shared Stories of Women's Dissertation Journeys (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), and has published widely on healthcare ethics and on the use of Socratic method in teaching and qualitative research. With Dr. Laura Barbas Rhoden, community and Wofford student collaborators, and the support of Wofford’s undergraduate research program, she has conducted several community-engaged, equity-focused research projects in the Spartanburg community.
Ramón Galiñanes Jr. is the director of undergraduate research and post-graduate fellowships at Wofford College. He holds a B.A. in history from Montclair State University, a Master of Philosophy in politics, democracy and education from the University of Cambridge (England) and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida. His research examines important questions about civil conflict, democratization, migration, civic engagement, ethnic politics and social movements. He has received grants and fellowships from the American Political Science Association, the National Security Education Program, the U.S. State Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Program, and the Gates Cambridge Trust. Galiñanes is a first-generation college student who is passionate about encouraging and empowering students to develop as scholars and civic leaders.
Dylan W. Goshorn, a junior at Wofford College, a double major in International Affairs and Philosophy and serves as the current Student Body Vice-President. He also serves as Vice-President of the Zeta Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, is a Wofford Ambassador, and is part of the orientation staff. His main objective is to ensure the democratic representation of each member of the Wofford College Student Body, while also allowing students to voice concerns and ideas concerning the future of the college.
Dr. Jameica B. Hill, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry, matriculated at Wofford College as an undergraduate (c/o 1988), received her PhD from Clemson University, and returned to her alma mater as a member of the faculty in the fall of 1993. Therefore, having Wofford be a place where individuals of all ages, backgrounds, beliefs, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, gender expressions, national origins, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, abilities–and other visible and nonvisible differences—are treated with respect is of utmost importance to her. While her doctoral research interests concerned main group organometallic chemistry in general with a particular emphasis on organoaluminum chemistry, currently her research interests include promoting the interest of underrepresented groups (women and minorities), as well as all students, in the area of science as possible career choices by intentionally making available opportunities in scientific research and/or residential science programs.
Jurnee Jones-Holcombe '21, a native of Spartanburg, SC, is senior majoring in Government and Sociology/Anthropology. In addition to serving as a member of the JEDI Committee, Jurnee’s commitment to advocating for peers and bettering Wofford can be seen in her involvement across campus for the past three years. She served her peers in Campus Union as a First-Year delegate, Student Body Secretary, Student Body Vice President, and currently as a Senior Delegate. In the community, Jurnee works with the Spartanburg Clergy Initiative and the Spartanburg Police Department to promote positivity among young people and healthy relationships with the police. She is also a mentor to local high schoolers in the iCan Mentor Program through the Spartanburg County Foundation. Additionally, Jurnee is a member of Wofford Women of Color, the String Ensemble, and the Wofford Anti-Racism Coalition. After graduating, she plans to attend law school to further foster her passion for positively impacting her community.
Dr. Dan Mathewson is Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Associate Professor of Religion. Mathewson received the Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Emory University in 2004. The following year, he joined Wofford’s Religion Department, teaching in the area of Religion and Culture with courses that generally center on minority religious communities in contemporary America. Mathewson’s research mainly focuses on the intersection of race, class, and religion in the contemporary South, and on pedagogy related to student development of intercultural competence – the ability to engage meaningfully across lines of difference. From 2018-2020, Mathewson served as Director of New Faculty Teaching Initiatives in Wofford’s Center for Innovation and Learning, and since 2018 he has served as Cohort Leader of the First-Year Seminar, which was created under his leadership. In all his faculty development leadership positions, Mathewson has given special attention to issues of diversity and equity, and the development of inclusive pedagogies.
Gregory A. O’Dell currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia. Events DC owns and/or operates some of the national capital’s most iconic venues, including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and the surrounding Festival Grounds, the non-military functions of the DC Armory, the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square and the Gateway DC events pavilion in the city’s Congress Heights neighborhood. The organization also built and now serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States.
As president and CEO, Mr. O’Dell oversees Events DC’s three lines of business: Conventions and Meetings, Sports and Entertainment, and Creative Services. His primary responsibilities include oversight of the creation and promotion of hospitality, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities that generate economic and community benefits for the residents and businesses of District of Columbia. He also manages Events DC’s development portfolio, with active projects that include a new multipurpose entertainment and sports arena on the campus of St. Elizabeths East in Congress Heights, the redevelopment of the RFK Stadium/Armory campus, a comprehensive streetscaping project around the 9-block exterior of the Convention Center and the redevelopment of the Carnegie Library inclusive of a primary tenant lease for Apple’s global flagship store.
As the convention and sports authority for the District, Events DC was created in 2009 through the merger of two former, independent quasi-governmental agencies – the Washington Convention Center Authority and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. Mr. O’Dell has the unique experience of having led both organizations as part of his public service in the District of Columbia.
Prior to the merger, Mr. O’Dell served as chief executive officer and general manager of the Washington Convention Center Authority, where he was responsible for the operations of the 2.3-million-square-foot Convention Center, an award-winning facility that sees approximately one million visitors each year and has generated more than $5 billion in direct delegate spending since opening in 2003. Mr. O’Dell was also responsible for the Authority’s development efforts, having led negotiations with the selected private developer and provided oversight throughout the project lifecycle of a $520 million public-private partnership for the 1,175-room, 37-suite Marriott Marquis Washington, DC hotel. The Marriott Marquis, with a pedestrian connector to the Convention Center, broke ground in November 2010 and opened in May 2014.
Before joining the Washington Convention Center Authority, Mr. O’Dell was the president and chief executive officer of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, where he led the project team that completed the $611 million, 41,546-seat and Silver LEED-certified Nationals Park. During his tenure at the Commission, Mr. O’Dell was also responsible for the operations and maintenance of the RFK stadium and campus, inclusive of hosting various events including Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer play, marketing and sales activities, and the contract and services management related to the hosting of events at RFK. Before heading up the Commission, he was the chief development officer for the Government of the District of Columbia, where he was responsible for stimulating and promoting economic development within the District.
Preceding his move to District government, Mr. O’Dell worked for the former management and IT consulting firm BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting). While there, Mr. O’Dell advanced to senior manager and practice lead for Construction Advisory Services, responsible for construction and development services to both public and private clients. After leaving BearingPoint, he served as a principal and owner of the Clemens Consulting Group, where he continued to provide consulting services to clients throughout the lifecycle of their development projects.
A resident of Ward 2, Mr. O’Dell is the Vice President of the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC). He also serves on the boards of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Washington, DC Economic Partnership; DC Surface Transit, Inc.; the Downtown DC Business Improvement District; the PCMA Education Foundation; Destination DC; Children’s National Medical Center (Washington, DC); and the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District. He received a bachelor’s degree with double major in finance and government from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Arsenio Parks, Sr. Assistant Director of Admission and Diversity Recruitment and Initiatives Coordinator, studied English at Wofford College (c/o 2011). While at Wofford, he was a mentor to first-year students of color in the Transitions program and young, black males from the greater Spartanburg community. Before returning to Wofford as an admission counselor in 2016, he worked for a nonprofit organization as a site coordinator assisting high school students with locating community resources to address their basic and educational needs. Arsenio’s passion is rooted in providing equity in and access to quality education for historically underrepresented groups.
Graduated from Wofford in 1965, retired as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina in 2016, and currently practices law with Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, in Columbia, SC, with primary focuses on mediation of disputes, and appellate practice.
Ron Robinson is the Perkins-Prothro Chaplain and Professor of Religion at Wofford College. Long involved in race relations, civil rights and interfaith work, he has been a featured speaker at numerous national and international gatherings, including the most recent Parliament of World Religions in Toronto. He received the Keeper of the Dream award in Charlotte for “exemplifying Dr. King's ideals and work tirelessly to promote peace and strengthen the community.” His recent book, Peacemaking and the Prophetic Voice, features a chapter co-written with a Wofford student, “Practical Divinity: Interfaith Engagement and the Liberal Arts Community.” His latest article, “Correspondence: The Transformative Exchange of Letters between White Moderates and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” appeared in The Term. Rev. Ron, as he is known on campus, is a 1978 graduate of Wofford. He earned two master’s degrees from Duke University and a doctorate from SMU.
Tasha Smith-Tyus (Dr. T) arrived at Wofford College in August 2018 as Director of Career Services. She has more than 14 years of experience working in career management and administrative roles in both Academic and Student Affairs. Prior to her arrival at Wofford, she worked and studied at The University of Alabama as a Program Manager/Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Communication Studies. During her time in higher education, she has also served on various planning boards, committees and initiatives focusing on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the academy. Her research has focused on gender performativity and the perception of women sports reporters, Black masculinity and its portrayal in film, and the subjectivities of Black male athletes at PWIs in the South. She earned a PhD in Instructional Leadership with a focus in Social and Cultural Studies from The University of Alabama.
James Stukes serves as the Coordinator for College Access and Student Success within the Office of Student Success and the Center for Community-Based Learning. James earned his bachelor’s degree in history from East Tennessee State University and master’s degree in higher education from Abilene Christian University. For nearly the past ten years, James has worked in various areas of higher education all while serving in capacities related to creating welcoming and affirming spaces for students, faculty, and staff. James is an active member of Wofford’s National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) and Antiracism Action teams. His current research focuses on first generation college students and experiences of African American students attending predominately White institutions.
Joyce Payne Yette, a 1980 Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate of Wofford College, is the chief legal officer of Promontory Financial Group, an IBM company, in Washington, DC. Promontory is an innovation unit within IBM specializing in advising and assisting companies with managing complex risks and meeting regulatory compliance requirements. As the firm’s chief legal officer, Yette is responsible for overseeing its legal affairs around the world. She also is a member of the firm’s management committee and risk & reputation committee. Yette began her career at Covington & Burling in Washington, where she specialized in commercial real estate; her practice included complex projects throughout North America. Yette later was associate general counsel for the Washington Area Transit Authority, where she worked on the structuring and financing of the agency’s public and private community development projects. These projects helped to transform and revitalize neighborhoods and communities throughout the metropolitan D.C. area. After graduating from Wofford, Yette attended Harvard Law School, where she was a member of the board of student advisers and comments editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. After law school, she clerked on the U.S. Federal District Court in Boston, Massachusetts for Hon. David S. Nelson, USDJ. As a first-generation college graduate, Yette is passionate about higher education and the opportunities it affords. At each step in her career, she has mentored other first-generation college students to help ensure their successful transition from school to work to community service. Currently, Yette serves on the Wofford Board of Trustees. She is a former member of the board of trustees of McDaniel College, the board of directors of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) and the advisory board of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program in Washington, DC.