Grenell to lead push for greater diversity

Students, faculty and staff had a chance to talk with the university's first associate provost for diversity in a meet-and-greet program Monday afternoon at the Alumni Memorial Union.

The guest of honor was Keenan Grenell, who will officially step into his new office in O'Hara Hall June 1.

He will be in charge of diversifying the university, providing diversity training, teaching a class and reaching out to community groups throughout the area, according to a March 16 press release from the Office of Public Affairs.

In his opening words, Grenell said he saw Monday's gathering as a "small step along a mighty journey" toward diversity, one that he cannot take alone.

Diversity, to the new associate provost, means a lot of things.

"Change. Opportunity. Inclusion as well as tapping into all genius," he said.

Grenell said he chose to come to Marquette because he saw leadership and the chance for growth.

"There was not a single person not committed to diversity," he said.

After Grenell and other guests sampled some of the refreshments, University Provost Madeline Wake formally introduced Grenell.

Wake said the purpose of creating the new diversity position and hiring Grenell was to make the university a place "that looks like the rest of the world."

She said the effort to recruit Grenell stemmed from the No. 1 concern of last spring's task force on diversity, which was the need for some kind of director of diversity.

The provost also challenged the listeners and everyone at Marquette to make the university a welcoming place, one that could be "a model to the world."

When he took the podium, Grenell said he has felt welcome at the school since his arrival.

"I feel at home," Grenell said. "I look forward to being a part of this wonderful family."

Grenell has an incredible passion for diversity, political science, public administration, business and entrepreneurship, Wake said.

Before coming to Marquette, Grenell headed the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.

Starting in June, Grenell plans to form a strategic diversity plan and reform recruitment efforts, but he expects his duties will expand.

"This will not happen overnight," he said.

Eric Williams, director of the McNair Scholars Program, met Grenell at the program.

"I have a good first impression of him," Williams said. "I think he's ready to make some change. Of course, he has to learn the lay of the land and have the opportunity to see what's going on."

Grenell said the summer will allow him to get acquainted with the university, its buildings, members and organizations.

Others who came to greet the new administrator were students such as Chellie DeGelleke, a College of Business Administration freshman.

"I definitely think he will do a good job," she said. "He has the talent and the knowledge and the ability to take Marquette in a direction it needs to go."

"I think he's really going to be a gift to us," Wake said.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on April 19 2005.