Wofford’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Dr. Ramón Galiñanes Jr., Bonner Scholars program coordinator in the Center for Community Based Learning, is hard at work.

The focus of the college’s 2016-17 academic year is diversity and inclusion, and the campus committee, consisting of students, faculty, staff and a member of the Wofford College Board of Trustees, is undertaking a comprehensive campus climate assessment that will result in a strategic plan for diversity.

Taking a strategic look at diversity and inclusion at Wofford this academic year is the result of a campus-wide charge issued earlier this year by Wofford President Nayef Samhat. “Although Wofford prides itself on its well-earned reputation for creating a welcoming and respectful community, we should always strive to make everyone feel included, represented and at home on this campus,” said Samhat in a campus-wide email. 

For Galiñanes, the leadership position is a perfect fit and a committee he is honored to chair. The son of two immigrants, Galiñanes’ life story has been one of engaging with people who are different from him.

“The campus climate assessment is a great opportunity to critically examine who we are as a community and how we can create a more diverse and inclusive community in which all of us are welcomed and are able to thrive,” says Galiñanes. “Working together to create such a community is not just a matter of fairness — which is indeed fundamental to a Methodist-affiliated college — but it is also a matter of providing all Wofford students a real-world experience in which they are prepared to engage across lines of meaningful differences and be successful in the 21st century.”

Committee member Dr. Ron Robinson, Perkins-Prothro Chaplain and Professor of Religion, agrees. 

“Our students want to develop skills that will enable them to flourish in the world they will inhabit and lead,” says Robinson. “In order to do that, they need to encounter and understand the concerns of all humanity. That happens most effectively on a campus that includes people from varied backgrounds. When we are at our best, all sorts of people will feel a sense of belonging here. It is that kind of campus that will develop and nurture the life skills students desire and need.”

Committee member Alex Hardy ’18 is honored to be a part of the process. 

“This committee stands at the forefront of positive change that Wofford is guaranteed to see in the future,” says Hardy. “As the president of the only National Pan-Hellenic Council organization on campus, it also means a lot that I can share my opinions and experiences to benefit the committee and provide a first-person perspective in order to more accurately advocate for these improvements.”

Galiñanes will share the committee’s plan to the community and the Board of Trustees at the February 2017 board meeting.

Members of the Wofford College Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Farahnaz Afaq

Camille Bethea
Associate Professor, Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Ramón Galiñanes (Chair)
Bonner Scholars Program Coordinator

Alex Hardy

Collins McCraw
Associate Director, Admission

Craig Melvin
Member, Wofford College Board of Trustees

Annie Mitchell
Vice President, Office of Marketing and Communications

Jim Neighbors
Associate Professor, English

Ron Norman
Interim Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Laceyanne Robinson

Ron Robinson
Perkins-Prothro Chaplain and Professor of Religion

Nancy Williams
Associate Professor, Philosophy

by Annie Schott Mitchell