Chapman’s dedication to advance along the path of greatness is evidenced by far more than its branding. Greatness can be witnessed in the caliber and dedication of the Panther family. It has always been present in our story of growth, development, and expansion which reaches back to 1861 and remains palpable today. Since stepping into the role of director of LGBTQ pride and achievement, I had the opportunity to meet faculty, staff, and students and to witness the powerful work of advancing knowledge and improving the human experience. As a partner in this mission, I have faith that we are up to the challenge.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion might be conceptualized as a constellation of commitments which orient and guide the university on its mission. With a destination as lofty and intangible as “greatness,” our institution lunges into the unknown toward pure, if unrealized, possibility. Committed as we are to the mystery of greatness, we are in need of guides by which we may etch out our path. We look to these concepts believing that their presence in our decisions and work serve as prefigurative confirmation that we are on the right path. In other words, since we want to be great, we are dedicating ourselves to taking each step forward greatly. So why and how are these three so fundamental to greatness?
First, by having an eye to diversity, our institution becomes more aware of the power of interdisciplinarity and multiperspectivity. Not only is diversity a fundamental and authentic aspect of humanity, but also,its fostering elicits what Professor Emerita Suzanne SooHoo, Ph.D, would call multi-logicality. This commitment frees the rudder of our institution from historical streams of status quo, enabling us to sail new routes toward a greatness made possible through diversity.
Secondly, by centering equity, our university insists on framing difference as an asset. A stance to value diversity leads to an imperative that barriers to experience and expression be eliminated, particularly for those who have been marginalized or disenfranchised. Distribution of resources and efforts are strategically aimed at advancing thriving. Equity speeds our advancement to greatness as it allocates resources to dismantle historic obstacles.
Finally, inclusion remains a beacon on the shore of our destination–one that shines brighter as we embrace diversity and equity more fully. Inclusion requires everyone to have agency in crafting spaces of belonging. This is a collective act that elicits diverse experiences and requires that all have access to participation. Through moments of inclusion, we begin to see the outlines of the greatness we are moving toward. Inclusion reveals that the possibility of greatness has always been within us but cannot be unlocked without all of us. As with all at this university, I have my part to play in this work and this gives me joy.