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Two co-directors lead renamed, revitalized Center

There will be an official dedication to name The Bernadette Gonzaque Robert Center for Equity, Diversity and Justice later this year

August 31, 2021

The former Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, now The Bernadette Gonzaque Robert Center for Equity, Diversity and Justice, has two interim co-directors: Kimberly Nao, PhD, director, induction and instructional leadership and the Fritz Burns endowed chair of education (left), and Chinako Belanger, PhD, associate dean of student life and leadership (right)

Kimberly Nao (left) and Chinako Belanger (right) are sharing director duties for The Bernadette Gonzaque Robert Center for Equity, Diversity and Justice
Kimberly Nao (left) and Chinako Belanger (right) are sharing director duties for The Bernadette Gonzaque Robert Center for Equity, Diversity and Justice

“When I think of Bernie [Bernadette], she created places of belonging, and I think that’s what students are looking for in the new year,” says Belanger. “They’re looking forward to having the opportunity to be on campus and be in community with each other in ways that are very different from just being on Zoom and virtual spaces.”

Belanger says that the Center has many plans for the fall, but some specifics are waiting for community input. “We want to be intentional with who is part of the conversation, so bringing in our student groups, other staff and faculty to help inform our programming will be really important.”

Both Nao and Belanger are thrilled that the Mount is creating a new position for a vice president of equity, diversity and justice who will be a member of the President’s Cabinet. The new vice president will drive the agenda to become an anti-racist University. “I hope this individual will be someone who has a vision for bringing in social justice on a lot of different levels,” says Nao, “but also who’s open enough to understand how to implement those things within the unique culture of the Mount community.”