In a letter to the University community, President John Garvey announced the appointment of Associate Dean of Engineering Mel Williams, Jr., to oversee diversity and inclusion initiatives at Catholic University.
“I look forward to working together with Mel Williams this year to create at Catholic University a truly hospitable campus culture for all nations, peoples, and cultures,” Garvey said in his letter.
Williams will begin in this part-time role on August 1. He will continue his responsibilities in the School of Engineering, where he has served since 2017.
As a special assistant, Williams will be accountable to President Garvey for the execution of recommendations from the Sister Thea Bowman Committee, as well as related University strategic goals, all contributing to improving the University’s mission performance.
He will serve as a member of the Executive Committee of the Administrative Council, and work collaboratively with the University’s administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni to address matters of race and equality in University operations.
“With personal humility and mindful respect for everyone in the Catholic University community, I look forward to remaining a servant leader who assists others in our collaborative pursuit of common goals,” Williams said. “My approach will be to listen intently, to advise, to add value by performing the needed work in support of cognizant University leaders and our community, and as President Garvey has indicated — to help create at Catholic University a truly hospitable campus culture for all nations, peoples, and cultures.”
Williams will meet monthly with President Garvey and provide updates to the senior leadership each semester to track the University’s progress and challenges in the areas of race and diversity. He will also work closely with the President’s leadership team to provide strategic input.
The Sister Thea Bowman Committee, convened in August 2020, is named for a CatholicU alumna who championed the dignity of under-represented groups and has been designated by the Church as a Servant of God. The committee's mandate was to study all facets of University operations and make recommendations concerning racial equality.
One of the Committee’s early recommendations was that the University appoint an individual who would be responsible for a sustained focus on diversity and its impact on University performance.
“As a proud alumnus and employee of The Catholic University of America, it will be a particular honor for me to serve as Special Assistant to the President,” Williams said. “I am appreciative of the confidence that President Garvey has towards my potential service in this capacity and wish to also thank the many others who have already expressed congratulatory sentiments to me following the announcement of this assignment.”