Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
I am excited to share with you that Ernest Jeffries will be joining Lafayette as our new Vice President for Inclusion. Ernest brings to the role more than 30 years of expansive leadership experience in higher education. Regarded as a transformational leader and a collaborative partner who is passionate about the value of highly selective liberal arts institutions to our society, he will officially join the College on January 8, 2024.
Ernest comes to us following a national search that attracted outstanding candidates from across the country. Throughout this process, he stood out from this strong field with extensive experience that has prepared him well for the many responsibilities of this vice president position, which includes developing and implementing a comprehensive plan that connects, leverages, and furthers equity and inclusion efforts on campus.
Since 2018, Ernest has served as the inaugural Vice President of Student Engagement at Mary Baldwin University. In this role, he sets the strategic priorities and provides leadership and direction for a division that includes First Year Experience and Student Support, Community Standards, Title IX, Residence Life, Student Activities, Student Health and Counseling, Campus Safety, Athletics, Dining Services, and the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted.
Prior to Mary Baldwin University, Ernest served for 20 years at Davidson College, during which his roles included leadership as Assistant/Associate Dean of Student Life, Chief Judicial Officer, and Director of Multicultural Affairs. In his final Davidson role as Associate Dean of Student Life, he was responsible for multicultural affairs, academic access and disability resources, academic support, student retention programs, judicial affairs, and technology resources. In collaboration with Institutional Advancement, he received two significant grants that provided funding to implement campus-wide diversity programing and support related scholars and artists in residence, a distinguished speakers series, faculty training in inclusive pedagogy, and cultural competence training for faculty, staff, and students.
Ernest’s extensive experience in student engagement and inclusion work is complemented by his time spent in the classroom teaching first-year courses at each institution throughout his career. These courses have focused on ethics, diversity, study skills, decision-making, and time-management skills.
Actively engaged in the higher education community, Ernest’s professional affiliations include the Southern Association of College Student Affairs, the Association on Higher Education and Disability, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the Association of Student Conduct Administrators, and the Phi Mu Alpha and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternities.
Ernest received his B.A. in music education and M.Ed. in college administration from the University of South Carolina. He earned his M.Div. at Hood Theological Seminary and D.Min. at United Theological Seminary.
My thanks to our search committee for their diligent efforts on this comprehensive search: Jorge Torres and Forrest Stuart, co-chairs; and Chris Phillips, Robin Rinehart, Alex Hendrickson, Rico Reyes, and Nicole Eramo.
In addition to his extensive leadership experience, Ernest will bring his warmth, generosity, and kindness to our Lafayette family. We look forward to welcoming Ernest, his wife, Terry, and their two adult children, Haley (and son-in-law, Nigel) and Jonathan, to our campus community.
To great things ahead,
President Nicole Hurd