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UW Appoints VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

November 18, 2022
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Zebadiah Hall

The director of Cornell University’s Student Disability Services (SDS) has been appointed as the University of Wyoming’s first full-time vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Zebadiah Hall, who has been an advocate for inclusivity in roles at multiple institutions during his career, will begin his work at UW Dec. 22. The appointment was approved today (Friday) by the UW Board of Trustees, concluding a nationwide search that brought four finalists to campus this fall.

“We’re excited that Zebadiah has agreed to join our UW team and fill this important new role to help us continue advancing as an excellent and inclusive university,” UW President Ed Seidel says. “I’m so impressed by his understanding and enthusiasm for making sure our campus is a welcoming place for everyone -- and a place where diverse perspectives are shared and discussed in a spirit of civility.”

Hall holds a Master of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind., and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in leadership for the advancement of learning and service in higher education from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wis.

As director of SDS at Cornell University, Hall transformed SDS from a medical model to a social model, building bridges with key campus partners and stakeholders within the state of New York and nationally. In addition to being the director of SDS, Hall served as the chair of the Diversity Working Group for Cornell Health, co-chair of the Men of Color Colleague Network Group and a member of the university’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator team, the Student and Campus Life Advisory Committee and Belonging at Cornell Committee.

“The role of vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for UW gives me the access to serve people in the university, town of Laramie and the state of Wyoming as one community comprised of many,” Hall says. “There are some rich opportunities where DEI is needed to build bridges and strengthen support to break through so people know they belong and matter.”

In September 2021, Seidel charged a small team to serve as an interim Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Council to help assist in preparing for the search to fill the chief diversity officer position. That team met several times and proposed elevating the position to a vice president, with a search to be conducted using a search firm. The president advanced those recommendations and garnered support from the Board of Trustees.

Since April, Vice President for Student Affairs Kim Chestnut also has served as interim vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. She helped lead the search that resulted in Hall’s selection.

“We were pleased with the many high-quality candidates who applied and interviewed for the position,” Chestnut says. “Zebadiah will make a strong contribution to UW and the larger state.”

As a vice president, Hall will be a member of the president’s cabinet and serve as the primary point of contact in coordinating with the Native American Affairs Advisory Council; overseeing UW’s Black 14 initiatives; developing a campus climate response team; and working with campus partners on many other efforts. Those include a search equity adviser program; employee networks; and the Social Justice Research Center.

Hall currently sits on the national board as the equity officer for the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD) and has been the president of the state of Indiana’s AHEAD chapter.

Hall began his career as an admissions counselor at Calumet College of St. Joseph, where he also was an assistant men’s basketball coach for four years. Before joining Cornell, he was the director of the Access and Accommodations Resource Center and chaired the Staff Employee Advocacy Council at Valparaiso University.

Hall says he is looking forward to joining the community of Laramie in the company of his wife, Leslie Hall, and their pet dachshund.

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