St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan has appointed Dereck J. Rovaris Sr., as vice president for equity and strategic initiatives. He will join St. Mary’s College in mid-April and will report directly to the president.

“Dr. Rovaris will be an invaluable addition to our community,” Jordan said. “His experience and wealth of knowledge will aid in amplifying existing programs. By helping us develop and implement new programs, the College can both fulfill its mission and become a place where all who enter our community have the greatest opportunity to thrive.

“I have no doubt in his ability to forge meaningful connections with our students, faculty, and staff. I look forward to him fully developing and integrating the work of the Inclusive Diversity, Equity, Access and Accountability (IDEAA) unit into the fabric of what we do as an institution.”

In this newly developed position, Rovaris will serve as a strategic adviser on matters related to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access across the campus. He will drive sustained impact, amplify successful structures, implement policies and programs, and build new campus initiatives.

“I am excited to be joining such an amazing institution. At this point in my career there were many options, but none ‘checked the boxes’ like St. Mary’s College of Maryland,” Rovaris said. “Upon my visit to campus I had the opportunity to meet wonderful faculty and staff, but I was most impressed by the students. It will be a pleasure to work with such an engaging community as we lead equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice initiatives and practices for the National Public Honors College.”  

Rovaris has over 30 years of higher education experience. He most recently supported Louisiana State University as vice provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion where he served as chief diversity officer and supervised all diversity initiatives. Prior to that role, Rovaris served four years as associate vice chancellor for academic and multicultural affairs at the University of Louisiana Health and Sciences Center. While there, he envisioned and developed strategic diversity initiatives that promoted an institutional climate that equally welcomed, nurtured, and respected the culture and contributions of all members of the community. His time there was preceded by a two-decade career at the Xavier University of Louisiana where he led several units and award-winning programs.

Rovaris has a number of publications and serves on a variety of boards and nonprofit committees. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, his master’s degree from the Xavier University of Louisiana, and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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