Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council Formed

A diverse group of U of A students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as community members and business leaders, have been selected to serve on the university's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council. The 20-member advisory council, which met for the first time last month, will help guide DEI initiatives at the university and provide counsel directly to Chancellor Joe Steinmetz.

"I am grateful that each of these individuals answered the call to come to the table to discuss matters related to the broadest possible definition of diversity and inclusion," Steinmetz said. "As we convene volunteers to help us be successful in fundraising campaigns, it makes sense to convene volunteers to help us be successful in other types of campaigns as well. As chancellor, I can't be everywhere at once, and I depend on insights provided by many stakeholders to help me know and understand the current climate to inform current actions and future directions."  

Meetings will occur on a quarterly basis, with council members working between meetings to move initiatives and actions forward.  

During their first meeting, council members recieved a clear message from Chancellor Steinmetz: dream big.

"There's nothing too big or bold for us to ignore," said Anthony DiNicola, inclusion liaison for the chancellor's office. "We have the opportunity to come together for long-term, unwavering work to ensure each member of our campus community can thrive here. It's powerful and exciting, and the members are ready to go to work.

"This is a diverse, dynamic group of individuals who each bring their own expertise, passion and resources to the table as we work toward meaningful change that will make our institution more diverse, equitable and inclusive. Getting to know our council members has been an eye-opening and wonderful experience. While it is a diverse group, they are unified by their compassion, empathy and shared interest in moving our university forward." 

DEI Advisory Council Members


  • Elijah Conley, undergraduate student
  • Alex Davis, undergraduate student
  • Warrington Sebree, Black Graduate Student Association


  • Calvin White, associate dean of Fulbright College and professor of history 
  • Meera Kumar, instructor, School of Journalism and Strategic Media 
  • Mary Margaret Hui, assistant director for first-generation student support 
  • Sherry Muir, associate professor and program director of occupational therapy, College of Education and Health Professions


  • Elvis Moya, associate athletics director of community relations and fan engagement 
  • Erika Gamboa, director, Veterans Resource & Information Center 
  • Cpl. Allen Porter,  UAPD community outreach and involvement officer 
  • Amita Patel, budget manager, Division of Research and Innovation 
  • Yassaman Mirdamadi, director, Testing Services 


  • Mario Ramirez, president and founder, MRamirez Group 
  • Janie Simms Hipp, CEO, Native American Agriculture Fund 
  • Connie Lewis Lensing, counsel, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP 
  • Ritche Manley Bowden, network relations specialist, Amerigroup Corporation


  • Shelley Simpson, chief commercial officer, executive vice president of people and human resources, J.B. Hunt  
  • Steve Gibbs, vice president, chief accounting officer and corporate controller, Home Depot 

Administration Representatives 

  • Anthony DiNicola, inclusion liaison, Office of the Chancellor 
  • Kim Needy, dean, College of Engineering 

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.


Anthony DiNicola, inclusion liaison
Office of the Chancellor
479-575-4140, anthonyd@uark.edu

John Post, director of academic communications
University Relations
479-575-4449, johnpost@uark.edu


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