Glover: Building a legacy for diversity at W&M

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Chon Glover (M.Ed. '90; Ed.D.'99) begins the 2009-2010 academic year at the College of William & Mary in a new position at a great time.

Pending approval of the Board of Visitors in September, Glover will join the College's senior administrative staff as the assistant to the president for diversity and community initiatives. In that role, she will be working to build and support a fully diverse campus community in accord with the second challenge of the College's new strategic plan. In many ways, she has prepared the ground for advance during her 13 years of service to the College.

"Diversity at William & Mary is becoming a common phrase," she said during a videotaped interview. "Now it is something that is being institutionalized. ... The strategic plan, where diversity emerged as a challenge, is going to be a great benefit to this community. ... A long time ago, there was a phrase used, 'William & Mary is a place of possibilities.' That's what we want, but we want it to be a place of possibilities for everyone."

During recent years, Glover has watched from her role as director of multicultural affairs the percentage of entering freshmen from different racial/ethnic backgrounds exceeded 25 percent at the College. "That is a very real measure of success," she said. Other measures of success she cites include the pro-active ways in which current students of color have become ambassadors for the College and the reactions of alumni who recognize that William & Mary is changing. They realize that "a lot of their blood, sweat and tears, and the sacrifices they made, have not gone in vain, that we are becoming the institution they saw that William & Mary could be when they gave us a chance back in the early 1970s," she said.

As she prepares to assume her new role, Glover relishes the opportunity to advance her self-ascribed calling of education people and helping them understand how people are more alike than they are different. William & Mary, she maintains, is the perfect place to pursue it.

"I've always had a passion for creating opportunities for those who are sometimes the voiceless, whether they are voiceless due to their economic background, their religious background, their sexual orientation; that's just always been intuitively who I am," she said. As far as exercising that passion at William & Mary, she said, "I think it was the 1949 handbook [that read] 'Who comes here belongs here.' ... We're a tribe. We're one. Everyone's voice means something at this table."