Colleen Hammond | editor-in-chief
Nov. 11, 2021
On Thurs. Nov. 4, Duquesne administration announced that the search for the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer was over. Effective Jan. 5, Crystal McCormick Ware will fill this new role. She is an alumna of Duquesne and has an extensive background in enacting efforts that drive diversity forward at an institutional level.
“I’m delighted that Crystal McCormick Ware will be returning to the university where she holds two degrees and has a long history of service. Her extensive experience collaborating with faculty, staff and students at Pitt has prepared her well to help shape this new role at Duquesne,” President Ken Gormley said.
This week, The Duke took a moment to get to know the newest face at Duquesne. Below are McCormick Ware’s responses, detailing her goals for her new position.
Q: What drew you to taking on this role at Duquesne?
A: First of all, I am so honored to be interviewed by the Duquesne Duke, the student newspaper that I read every day as a student at Duquesne University.
I was drawn to the position first initially because I have always been an active alumna and past employee of the university. I started my higher education career at Duquesne University when I was hired in the Admissions Office in 1990.
When I heard about Duquesne’s initiatives to improve its climate in terms of diversity and inclusion, I was very impressed that they were proactive with their plans to move forward and when the position was announced, I received an email about the position from the Alumni Office as well as several friends, and I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of assisting to implement change.
Q: Can you speak about your connection to the City of Pittsburgh?
A: I am a proud resident of the Pittsburgh Region. I have strong Mon Valley roots and graduated from Steel Valley High School in Munhall and my family are life-long residents (5 generations) of West Mifflin, PA.
I elected to stay in Pittsburgh for my education because of a school teacher by the name of Janet Fletcher who graduated from Duquesne University. She was very influential in my life and she was one of a few African American school teachers in the Steel Valley school system at the time.
Through the years, I have been active in Mon Valley civic engagement as well as the City of Pittsburgh. It is important for me to give back to the communities that have given me the opportunity to flourish academically, personally and professionally.
I presently serve on several Boards of Directors.
Q:What do you want the Duquesne community to know about you?
A:I am a proud mother of a 2020 Duquesne alumna who is now in graduate school at WVU.
I am an avid reader, I love to power walk (don’t be surprised if you see me walking on campus on a daily basis) I have completed four Pittsburgh half marathons, I collect art, I am a history buff (I LOVE the History Channel), I make jewelry while watching TV (it is relaxing). I am an ENTJ (a class of personality based on the Myers-Briggs test).
Q:What are your top priorities during your first year at Duquesne?
A: It is my hope to become reacquainted with Duquesne again. Although I have been an active alumna, a recent Duquesne parent and volunteer, I still need to relearn the institution that has grown so much in recent years.
Diversity and inclusion is not a quick fix, it takes time and effort. I want to learn about what Duquesne has been doing well in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion in each unit and to promote or improve upon those successes. I plan to meet with all of the leaders on campus, including faculty, students and staff and hopefully the various Boards of Visitors and the Board of Directors to have transparent conversations about diversity and inclusion and what it means to them.
I plan to earn the trust of the faculty, students and staff as the campus moves forward with its Action Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It will take time but I plan to implement change as thoroughly as possible with the help of the campus.
Q: Duquesne has a vibrant student life scene. How do you plan to work with Duquesne’s minority student organizations to enact change?
A: I look forward to working with Dr. Anthony Kane and with the students. He is doing an outstanding job with the students on campus. I also plan to work with Student Life and Greek Life.
I was very active on campus as a student and it was always refreshing to see faculty and staff like Dr. Judith Griggs supporting the students. I plan to touch base with all student organizations to enact change. It is my mission for all Duquesne University students to know who I am and that diversity, equity and inclusion is a campus commitment. Anthony is well respected on campus and I have volunteered at many student-focused programs throughout the years. Invite me to your events! Students are the heartbeat of the campus.
Q:What areas of campus life do you think need immediate attention from your new role?
A:I was hired to look at the overall climate of the university so that covers a very broad area with faculty, staff, students, etc. I will work with Duquesne University President Gormley to discern what areas need to be addressed immediately. He is very dedicated to the success of this position and also creating a more diverse and inclusive campus.
Q:What are you most excited to work on at Duquesne?
A: I am looking forward to coming back “HOME” and working with old friends and colleagues, meeting and working with new friends and colleagues, and most of all, having a positive impact through my work and my love of my alma mater.