Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Reflects on 2020 at F&M

By Gretchel Hathaway || Vice President of Diversity Equity and Inclusion

As one of the newest members of the F&Mily, I wish to thank everyone – students, faculty, and professional staff – who have made me feel welcomed, with special thanks to my senior staff and president’s office colleagues,* many of whom I have not yet met in person. (I truly wonder how tall you folks are!) Our new normal of being Zoom pros has helped folks like me, and probably most of our first-year students, get familiar with the campus as we make new connections during the pandemic.  

In my few months at Franklin and Marshall College, I have had some fascinating and sobering conversations with students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff (both exempt and nonexempt) on my listening tours this past semester. We know that we all have work to do around our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and initiatives; and we all have a responsibility to do this work with grace, leaning into some discomfort that will occur as we advance both personally and as a community during these trying times.  

I remember a conversation with Professor Michael Penn, wherein we talked about F&M being a neighborhood. In our neighborhood, we watch out for each other, and we welcome new neighbors as we share our stories to get to know one another better. In our neighborhood, we have a DEI Team** where we work with YOU to tackle tough issues and strive to improve our community to the benefit of all members. I felt the strong welcome I received from our campus in the fall term, and I experienced the passion folks have for enhancing our wonderful campus. 

This is a neighborhood where I’ve seen folks pick up a piece of trash off the ground and place it in a receptacle, where folks hold doors for one another, where we’ve gathered together in tough times in solidarity, and where we shared difficult stories and experiences with friends and strangers so that we can learn to be stronger together. This is a neighborhood where professional staff and faculty are their best selves, since we know we have only four years to be with our students and prepare them both academically and socially. We do this because we realize and embrace that now more than ever, “The World Needs Diplomats.” 

I close with this, folks: I am still learning on my listening tours. Please feel free to reach out to me to have conversations and discuss issues in our neighborhood as I learn more about what we need for our professional and personal development. And I welcome each of you to continue to attend the workshops, courses, and events that members of our DEI Team will be hosting this spring term. Approaching 2021, we will have opportunities and challenges as we continue to strengthen our F&Mily for the benefit of our neighborhood, our country, and our global society. Let’s continue to embrace our friends, our families, and our neighbors (while social distancing); help to keep ourselves and one another safe and healthy; pay-it-forward to others not as fortunate; and be life-long learners, mentors, and teachers. Many blessings to each and every one of you.

Fondly, Gretchel

*Senior Staff and President Office Colleagues: Barbara Altmann, Pierce Buller, Alan Caniglia, Matthew Eynon, Jimmie Foster, Margaret Hazlett, Kathy Johnson, Deb Moriarty, Carrie Rampp, Barbara Stambaugh, Mike Todd, Maura Condon Umble, Cameron Wesson.

**DEI Team: Michael Bright, Shawn Carty, Xay Chong Tua, Alison Hobbs, Amy    Layman, Stephanie McNulty, Sue Mennicke, Amy Mulnix, Nakia Perry, Joe Pritchett,     Christopher Raab, Chelsea Reimann, Sarah Ye.

Gretchel Hathaway is F&M’s Vice President of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, her email is ghathawa@fandm.edu

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