a supportive, diverse community

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

LR fosters an inclusive and welcoming environment for all systemically underrepresented student populations at the university.

Lenoir-Rhyne University seeks to become a nationally recognized liberal arts institution of choice, known for building leaders for tomorrow. To reach this goal and to continue to foster the development of the whole person, we understand the value of diversity and inclusion within our campus community.

As a growing university, we encourage members from all backgrounds, who bring with them a desire for excellence, integrity, care and curiosity, to join our campus family.

We encourage students, faculty, staff to reach beyond what has always been comfortable and stretch to learn about the many cultures and people that surround them.

We strive for a campus climate in which all members are able to freely express their culture and ethnicity.

It is through meaningful interactions with those who do not look like us nor share similar backgrounds, where we as a community are better equipped to understand who we are and ultimately who we can become. By valuing these differences and all that we share, you learn how to interact effectively with a wide variety of people, which builds community and prepares you for the working world.

Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), along with the entire Lenoir-Rhyne community, seeks to ensure LR is a place where all of our students, faculty and staff feel welcome. The DEI office works closely with administration, faculty and staff to be inclusive, in providing an excellent educational and work experience.

We value everyone regardless of culture, religion, gender, race or socioeconomic status. We are committed to finding strength in our differences and producing leaders who embrace and advance diversity, equity and inclusion. This work includes developing policies, procedures and practices that advance our goal of inclusion.

We encourage you to learn more about our work, including our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council and our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Commitment Plan.

For more information, please contact the DEI office. 

  • Letter from President Whitt

    Lenoir-Rhyne University values diversity and strives to create a welcoming community that is reflective of the world around us, one in which all individuals are respected and included. This commitment comes from our core — our Lutheran faith tradition. It is how we manifest our Lutheran principles across disciplines, how we create an inclusive culture and supportive spaces on campus that encourage meaningful interaction and engage, and how we equip students to be future leaders.

    Fred Whitt

    Over the last decade, the University has strived to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of campus life.  We are working diligently to evolve into a more inclusive and equitable campus that is committed to civic and social responsibility. In fact, we have made DEI efforts a key part of our strategic plan, Pivoting to a New Level of Excellence.

    We aim to foster an environment in which faculty, staff and students from diverse backgrounds have support networks that value their unique experiences, perspectives and opinions and have opportunities for people with differing perspectives to respectfully engage in discourse. Those qualities are not only important for those in our community, but they are critical for our students who leave our campus and work, live and lead in an increasingly interconnected world.

    Dr. Fred Whitt

  • Initiatives, Events & Speakers

    Our goal is to increase student conversation and engagement and create a culture where every student is represented and empowered to use their voice, which improves the overall experience at Lenoir-Rhyne for all students. Visit Multicultural Affairs for additional celebrations and programs. 

    • Held Paint & Sing event at LR for students to express creativity.
    • Established the Student-Athlete DEI Council
    • Creation of Student Bear Spotlight and Bear Call, where an LR student is featured
    • Participated in external leadership conferences: Women’s Roundtable and the Men of Color National Summit, both at Clemson University.
    • Started Office of Multicultural Affairs, Student Ambassadors program
    • Conversation Hour at LR


    • Michael Eric Dyson (Sept. 2022)
    • Natalie Holder, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action (IDEA), U.S. Capital Police (SOURCE event, April 2022)
    • Corie Pauling, TIAA, Sr. Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility (Nov. 2021)
    • David R. Katz III, Keynote for Growth Mindset at LR (Nov. 2021)
Ataysha Fininen

I would describe the LR community as diverse and very inclusive; everyone has the opportunity to be involved in anything that they want to since there are so many different clubs and organizations.

Ataysha Fininen '22, Psychology

Multicultural Affairs

Student paints Black Lives Matter mural on wall at local art center

Our Office of Multicultural Affairs aspires to create and support a diverse community that welcomes people of all races, cultures, ages, genders, sexual orientation, religions, socioeconomic levels, political perspectives, abilities, opinions, values and experiences.

We strive to reflect these differences in our decisions, curriculum, programs and actions. As a university community, we seek to ensure that underrepresented groups have equal access to the education and resource opportunities available at Lenoir-Rhyne.

Multicultural Affairs organizes and co-sponsors dynamic programs, which range from speakers and films to cultural celebrations—each representing a small piece of the diversity displayed at LR.

View Multicultural Affairs

Lenoir-Rhyne Equity & Diversity Institute

Instructor leads discussion of team with ideas on post-its on wall

The Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute (LREDI) supports, inspires and equips executives, non-profit leaders, educators, students, social activists and other community members who intend to spark change and cultivate better communities through their professional careers.

The curriculum focuses on equitable strategies and practices that can be applied to the professional fields of business, education, and technology, as well as to general community advocacy.

LREDI courses and certificate programs are offered online through the Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville

Learn More About LREDI

Shuford Center for International Education

International students gather for international fair at LR

There are many co-curricular activities that enrich the Lenoir-Rhyne education. By participating in study abroad or interacting with international students on our campus, you will expand your knowledge and engage other cultures in ways that broaden your perspective.

Our William and Robert Shuford Center for International Education initiates and supports events and programs that contribute to a global education. Not only do we provide support to our international students, but also facilitate the study abroad process.

View Study Abroad & International Education

News & Events

Before her own study-abroad year, Melanie Mora '25 is making the most of her international education at LR by mentoring and befriending students who come from around the world to study here.

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Giving a reading for the Visiting Writers Series, former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith provided a demonstration of the power of poetry to process the human condition in the past and present.

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