Neither Will Treloar ’24 nor Yasmin Nayrouz ’24 possessed any previous experience as student government leaders when they stepped onto the Syracuse University campus as first-year students three years ago. Now in their final year at Syracuse, Treloar and Nayrouz…
Mary Grace A. Almandrez Named Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud today announced the appointment of Mary Grace A. Almandrez to the position of vice president for diversity and inclusion. Almandrez brings with her nearly 25 years of experience in higher education, having served in leadership roles at Brown University, the University of San Francisco, McDaniel College and, most recently, the University of Rhode Island (URI). Almandrez was selected following a national search that yielded a diverse and highly qualified pool of candidates. Her appointment, which begins on June 1, was approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.
“Mary Grace’s depth and breadth of professional and academic experience make her uniquely qualified for this position,” says Chancellor Syverud. “I have great confidence in her ability to move Syracuse forward in achieving our aspiration to be a University that is truly welcoming to all. She has demonstrated visionary leadership, creativity and resilience throughout her career in working through some of the most challenging issues. I look forward to welcoming Mary Grace to the Orange community.”
In her new role, Almandrez will lead the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, providing oversight and vision in the administration of services, programs, policies and procedures for students, faculty and staff related to advancing the University’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA). She will lead the implementation of the DEIA Strategic Plan and liaise and collaborate with key constituencies, including undergraduate and graduate student leadership; the Board of Trustees Advisory Committee on University Climate, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility; Academic Leadership for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility; the Council on Diversity and Inclusion; and the Disability Access and Inclusion Council, among other stakeholder groups.
“Syracuse University is well-poised to be an exemplar of integrating scholarship and practical application in campuswide diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives,” says Almandrez. “Syracuse is a forward-thinking institution with a community equally committed to advancing DEIA priorities. I am looking forward to building on that momentum and working collaboratively with students, faculty, staff and the greater Syracuse community. I am grateful to Chancellor Syverud entrusting me with this important role. I thank the search committee chairs, its members and all members of the community that I met during this process.”
Since March 2020, Almandrez has served as associate vice president for community, equity and diversity and chief diversity officer at URI after serving in an interim role for over a year. Before joining URI, she spent seven years at Brown University, where she served in a number of leadership positions, including associate vice president and dean of students. Prior to Brown, she was assistant dean of students for multicultural student services at the University of San Francisco. Almandrez began her career in higher education as director of multicultural services at McDaniel College.
Cerri A. Banks ’00, G’04, G’06, vice president and deputy to the senior vice president in the Division of the Student Experience, and Brian Konkol, dean of Hendricks Chapel, co-chaired the search committee charged with identifying the University’s next diversity and inclusion leader. The committee included students, faculty, staff and members of the Board of Trustees. Banks and Konkol agree Almandrez is the right person to lead Syracuse University’s DEIA efforts.
“Mary Grace is one of those rare people to whom you feel instantly connected, a trait that I have no doubt will resonate with students, faculty and staff,” says Banks. “We were seeking a leader with a proven track record of bringing about positive change in challenging the status quo. Mary Grace brings with her a wealth of experience and a gift of teaching and communicating that will be vital to her role.”
“After receiving insights from our campus community through several consultative sessions, it was clear that we needed to find a leader of courage and compassion, a visionary with the ability to spark and sustain change through collaboration and inspiration,” says Konkol. “Dr. Almandrez has demonstrated, through her experience and the interview process, the qualities necessary to have a positive impact in this critical leadership role.”
Almandrez earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of San Diego, a master’s degree in human resources development from McDaniel College and a doctor of education in organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco. She also holds a certificate from Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Educational Management. Her teaching and research interests include Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) women in leadership, student activism, inclusive pedagogy and praxis, and organizational development.
Almandrez holds memberships in several professional associations, including Diversity and Inclusion Professionals, Filipino Americans in Academe-Northeast, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. She also serves as a member of the Steering Committee for the A-10 Commission on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, College Visions Board of Directors and Congressman Jim Langevin’s Diversity and Equality Advisory Committee.
About Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university that advances knowledge across disciplines to drive breakthrough discoveries and breakout leadership. Our collection of 13 schools and colleges with over 200 customizable majors closes the gap between education and action, so students can take on the world. In and beyond the classroom, we connect people, perspectives and practices to solve interconnected challenges with interdisciplinary approaches. Together, we’re a powerful community that moves ideas, individuals and impact beyond what’s possible.