Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Located in the Elrod Commons, Room 243, The Office of Diversity and Inclusion provides support and programming for the following areas of University life:
- Multicultural Life
- Religious Life
- LGBTQ Life
- International Life
The Associate Dean of Students assists the Assistant Dean for First-Year Experience and the Center for International Education in orienting students to W&L, and is the key student affairs contact for diversity initiatives. In addition to providing oversight of Black Greek Life and serving as advisor to several student organizations, the Associate Dean provides personal counseling and advising to individual students and acts as a liaison to other university and community resources.
History of the Office
Before the university appointed anyone to coordinate diversity and inclusion, students of color formed a strong friendship with Marjorie Poindexter, a popular woman who was W&L's first black secretary. Mrs. Poindexter had no affiliation with the Dean of Students' Office, but students frequently went to her office for advice, words of encouragement, or just to talk and keep company. By 1973, however, the university recognized the need to create a position within the office of the Dean of Students that would address the needs and concerns of students of color.
The first person to serve in the new post of Assistant Dean and Director of Minority Affairs was the Reverend Lutrelle D. Rainey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lexington. Rainey also served as an adjunct professor in the sociology department. Donald Wills replaced Rainey in 1974, and he also served as assistant director of placement. Wills left Washington and Lee in 1976 when Dean Lewis G. John hired Curtis H. Hubbard. Hubbard had retired from a career in the military and both he, and his wife, had deep roots in Lexington and Rockbridge County. John L. White, an alumnus of the Class of 1974, replaced Hubbard in 1979 and served as Director of Minority Affairs until 1985. During the last years of his tenure he was also a part time law student. The job changed dramatically when Washington and Lee admitted women to the undergraduate division in 1985. At this time the University hired Ms. Anece McCloud as the new Associate Dean for Minority Affairs. McCloud headed the office until 1999, during which time she also coordinated International Student Affairs. Courtney Penn, an alumnus of the Class of 1992 replaced McCloud and served as Associate Dean for Minority Affairs until 2003. Tamara Futrell succeeded Courtney, in 2003, and currently holds the position of Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion.
Understanding that diversity strengthens the academic enterprise, the University commits itself to welcoming and nurturing all members of the community. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion supports the University mission by identifying and implementing initiatives to achieve an increased minority presence at the University and a more inclusive community. Additionally, the ODI attempts to act as a catalyst for all students wishing to explore critical issues on campus related to race, class, ethnicity, gender, nationality and sexual orientation.