April 20, 2007

VU diversity, equity champion Pierce to retire

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Patricia Pierce

VU diversity, equity champion Pierce to retire

Patricia Pierce, who has been in a leadership role with Vanderbilt's Opportunity Development Center almost from its inception, will retire April 30.

Pierce came to Vanderbilt as assistant director in 1977, just a few months before the 1978 opening of the ODC. In 1981 she became only the second director of the office, which oversees the university's equal opportunity, affirmative action and disability services programs and initiatives. Her current title is senior director of the Opportunity Development Center.

“Pat has been a tireless and respected advocate for diversity and equity on the Vanderbilt campus and beyond,” said Kevin Myatt, associate vice chancellor and chief Human Resource officer. “She has achieved outstanding success in the academic world and is recognized internationally for her efforts to promote opportunities for women.”

Pierce will continue doing work for the university as a consultant until the end of the current fiscal year. Until a successor is found, Associate Director Anita Jenious will serve as interim director.

“It will be difficult leaving Vanderbilt after working half my life here,” Pierce said. “My future plans include spending more time with my family, but Vanderbilt will always be part of my extended family.”

Having worked under three chancellors, Pierce was strategically involved in the development of Vanderbilt's first comprehensive affirmative action plan, the University's first self-evaluation of its compliance with the Title IX gender equity legislation, and the first assessment of the campus's accessibility for people with disabilities.

Pierce has represented Vanderbilt on community boards including the Governor's Advisory Committee on Fair Employment Opportunity, the YWCA, the Urban League, the Metro Human Relations Commission and the League for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She recently was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to the Board of Commissioners of the Tennessee Commission on Human Rights.

At Vanderbilt, she has served on the Equal Access Committee, the committee on the Status of Women and Minorities, the Women's Faculty Organization, the Violence Against Women Taskforce, the Advisory Board for Women and General Studies, and the University Policy Committee.