Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council


The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Council charge is to look at all that we do through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The council will help us implement education, training and revisions to policies and procedures in an effort to make Lenoir-Rhyne the most welcoming and engaging campus possible for all members of our community.

The council meets twice monthly and is developing a work plan for Lenoir-Rhyne to enhance our DEI initiatives and make recommendations to move our entire LR community forward.

A representative group of faculty from each college, staff, students, administration, athletics, Columbia and Asheville.

The council is chaired by Avery Staley, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Council Members


2021-2022 Members

  • Avery Staley, Vice President Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (Chair)
  • Eric Brandon, Enrollment Management and International Affairs
  • Todd Cutter, Campus Pastor
  • Dawn Floyd, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Compliance
  • Angelene Fortune, Director of Human Resources
  • Lesly James, Occupational Therapy, Columbia Campus
  • Michael Lemke, College of Education
  • Ryan Luhrs, College of Fine and Applied Arts
  • Mindy Makant, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Keith McDade, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics,  Asheville Campus
  • Kiara Moore, Student Representative
  • Cat Niekro, Vice President Advancement and Marketing
  • Tunay Orguz, College of Business
  • Kim Price, College of Health Science
  • AJ Qureshi, Office of Student Success and First-Year Advising
  • Mary Shore, Rector and Dean, LTSS
  • Michael Spivey, Counseling Services
  • Everick Sullivan, Athletics, Head Men’s Basketball Coach
  • Olivia Thorn, Student Government

President Fred Whitt and senior administration staff participated in Lenoir-Rhyne Equity & Diversity (LREDI) training at the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year. Training was provided through the university's LREDI partnership and focused on bias, anti-discrimination and working towards an inclusive environment.

News & Events

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Board of Trustees has renewed the contract of Dr. Fred Whitt, LR president, for a six-year term. The board unanimously approved the new contract at its meeting in November; the contract became effective Jan. 1 and will continue through Jan. 1, 2028.

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Spurred by reaction to The New York Times’ 1619 Project, the academic approach of Critical Race Theory has recently come under fire. Much of the fervor has centered on a misunderstanding of this approach and has led to resistance to exploring the very real influence of race and racism in society at both individual and systemic levels.

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