Alt 1

By John Baker Brown, Campus Life Communications

As an undergraduate and first-generation student at the University of Southern California, LaNita Gregory Campbell eagerly sought the full college experience. Her pursuit included, in addition to academics and other engagements, serving more than three years on the university’s rowing team and spending a summer semester abroad in Argentina. Now, she is helping Emory students get the most out of their college years.

Campbell, who is fluent in Spanish, joined Emory in July as director of the Office of Racial and Cultural Engagement (RACE). Most recently, she was assistant dean and leader of the Weppner Center for LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) and Service-Learning at Florida Atlantic University, a Hispanic-serving institution.

LaNita Gregory Campbell

Earlier in her career, Campbell held positions as: associate director of Academic Initiatives at Florida Atlantic, where she coordinated partnerships between student affairs and academic affairs to promote student success; postdoctoral fellow in diversity and inclusion at the University of Delaware; and programming assistant in the Asian Culture Center at Indiana University. She holds a PhD in gender studies and a master’s in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Indiana University and bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and in gender studies from the University of Southern California.

Following are excerpts from a recent conversation that ECL Connections had with Campbell.

ECL Connections: What drew you to the Emory University community?

Campbell: For one thing, Emory is a top-tier institution with a tradition of excellence and a relatively small student body. The smaller student body allows student affairs professionals to design and develop higher quality programs and services with more intentionality and through closer engagement with the students that those services are intended for.

Equally important to me is Emory’s commitment to excellence through diversity, especially the diversity of its student body. I look forward to getting to know and working closely with our students. I have been very impressed with those I have already met, their talent, their commitment to excellence, and certainly their eager engagement with a range of social justice issues.

ECL Connections: What do you envision as the overarching goals of the Office of Racial and Cultural Engagement?

Campbell: My immediate goal is to establish the office as a resource on this campus, an essential and appealing space for student dialogue and engagement to build community. I look forward to collaborating closely with our students. I want them to not just come along for the ride but also to push us, to bring their voices to the table, to let us know what they need.

ECL Connections: What do you find most appealing about your new position?

Campbell: The office and position are both relatively new, but there is some history. There’s a strong foundation to build on – thanks to the work of the Belonging and Community Justice team. At the same time, the Office of Racial and Cultural Engagement is still evolving and I feel there is real opportunity for ideas and innovation.

ECL Connections: Are there organizations in Campus Life and elsewhere in the university that you anticipate partnering with to achieve the goals of your office?

Campbell: Absolutely. Our success as a team, like the success of student affairs organizations as a whole, depends on the relationships that we build, not only with students but with faculty and staff and organizations across this campus. We’ve already started partnering close to home, reaching out to Campus Life organizations, but we will establish every productive and ongoing partnership that we need to best serve Emory students. That includes traditional partnerships and some that are less obvious but equally important.

Malcolm Robinson and LaNita Gregory Campbell.
Campbell meets with Malcolm Robinson, program coordinator in the Office of RACE.
Photo by Tina Chang.

ECL Connections: You bring an impressive and diverse professional background. How will it serve Emory and its students?

Campbell: I have been fortunate to gain a range of experience at diverse institutions in various geographic regions. Also, my PhD is in gender studies, which places me at the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. I have a strong background in academic affairs as well as student affairs, helping to build the essential connections between our students’ experiences in the classroom and those beyond the classroom.

I can think of no better role than serving Emory students from the perspective of intersectionality by leading the Office of Racial and Cultural Engagement.

ECL Connections: Is there anyting else that you want to share with your new colleagues throughout Campus Life?

Campbell: I am delighted to be a part of the Campus Life team and the broader Emory University community. I look forward to countless opportunities to make a difference here through collaboration and partnership, working with some of the best professional in higher education, and serving some of the most exceptional students anywhere.

Learn more: