Alumna returns to WMU as new leader for DEI planning, programs and initiatives

Contact: Deanne Puca

Dr. Danyelle Gregory

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—As a Battle Creek Central High School student, Dr. Danyelle Gregory, M.A.’14, first realized the profound benefits of college access programs through the TRiO Upward Bound program, a federal initiative designed to prepare first-generation or low-income students for success. That experience along with a graduate assistantship with economically and academically disadvantaged students helped build her passion for working as a higher education administrator.

This month, she joins Western Michigan University as associate vice president of diversity and inclusion, responsible for providing leadership in WMU’s diversity education planning, program development and advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Under her leadership, she’ll also be responsible for developing and managing assessment processes for programs to evaluate impact on DEI strategic goals. 

“We were fortunate to have very strong candidates for this position,” says Dr. Candy McCorkle, vice president for diversity and inclusion. “Dr. Gregory was selected as the new AVP as a result of her experience with DEI in higher education, managing programs focused on improving the climate and culture for students and staff as well as working with faculty to ensure a sense of belongingness for students. We are excited to have her join our team.”

“My ties with the University and experience leading inclusion work in various capacities make me excited to return to WMU in this new capacity,” says Gregory. “I very much appreciated the relationships I built with WMU faculty and staff and the support I received from higher education and student affairs faculty even as I progressed throughout my career.”

“I am intrigued by the work that WMU is doing around diversity and inclusion, specifically the recommendations of the Racial Justice Advisory Committee, which resulted in the creation of this inaugural role,” she continues. “I am looking forward to working alongside Dr. McCorkle, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the campus community as we continue to make strides toward maintaining a truly inclusive environment. I believe that my experience with program development and assessment, along with creating processes to streamline DEI efforts, will be a great compliment to enhance the work already being done.”

Throughout her career, Gregory has served in various capacities developing and implementing programs and strategic initiatives that seek to dismantle oppressive systems within the realm of higher education and beyond.

In her most recent role, she was director for the Office of Multicultural Student Services at Ferris State University, where she led the daily departmental operations  and provided campuswide cultural awareness training and social justice initiatives. 

She also held administrative roles at Kellogg Community College, Ferris State University and Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. 

Besides earning her Master of Arts in higher education and student affairs at Western, she has a Doctor of Education in community college leadership from Ferris.

“I am excited to join Western Michigan University and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion team as they continue this important work,” she says. “I look forward to contributing to an inclusive environment in which the entire campus community can thrive!”

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