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For Immediate Release: January 26, 2012

Providence College Names First-Ever Chief Diversity Officer 

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Providence, R.I. – Rafael Zapata has been hired as the first associate vice president/chief diversity officer at Providence College.

As PC’s chief diversity officer (CDO), Zapata will be responsible for creating and leading the College’s Office of Institutional Diversity (OID), which is charged with promoting an institutional culture that supports diversity in its many forms. The OID also will act as the focal point to coordinate new and existing diversity-related programs and initiatives.

“Providence College is committed to embracing diversity and to promoting a campus culture that is respectful of the dignity of every individual,” said Providence College president Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. “This commitment is reflected in the fact that Diversity is one of the five core values of the College’s new Strategic Plan. As such, Rafael is an extremely important hire for the College. We welcome him and we look forward to his ideas and initiatives and to supporting his efforts as he helps us to move forward to the point where we consider diversity in every aspect of campus life.”

Zapata will be responsible for the development, coordination, and implementation of programs and initiatives across all College divisions to advance a campus climate with a common vision that respects, values, and supports the academic, social, and personal development of diverse students, faculty, and staff. 

He will work to ensure that programs represent the values espoused in the College’s Mission Statement, as well as in the College’s Statement on Diversity. Working with all campus constituencies, he also will provide oversight to ensure the success of diversity-related goals within the College’s Strategic Plan. In collaboration with related offices, Zapata will develop strategies to achieve greater diversity, in its many forms, in recruiting and retaining students, faculty, and staff.

Zapata will report directly to Rev. Kenneth Sicard, O.P., executive vice president and treasurer.

Prior to coming to PC, Zapata served as the assistant dean and director of the Intercultural Center at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA. Before that, he served for three years as assistant director of the Office of African American, Latino, and Asian American Student Services at New York University.

Zapata received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Iona College and a master’s degree in sociology from Arizona State University. He also has done doctoral work in sociology and urban studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Chrissy Centazzo
Public Affairs and Community Relations Coordinator
ccentazz@providence.edu
401-865-2413
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