Four students on the hiring committee announced at the Gathering Tuesday that the University is hiring Prentice Ashford to head the Office of Intercultural Development (OID) after a seven-month search.
Ashford is an alumnus of Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, and the former director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs there.
“I’m excited to join this family,” Ashford said on stage at The Gathering.
The hiring committee said he was chosen from a pool of close to 100 applicants. Each interviewed with African-American students, staff and administrators.
“Prentice not only connected very well with our students, but he also connected well with faculty and administration,” hiring committee member Deion Sims told Lumination Network in a text message. “I think that, more than anything else, will allow him to be successful in his role as the head of our Office of Intercultural Development.”
The OID is designed to give minorities on campus a voice regarding student affairs. It includes the coordinators of African-American Student Services, International Student Services and other student minority groups. The Black Student Union and Futuro, among other groups, are under the umbrella of the office. Lisa Steele, the current head of OID, is moving into a different role in the Student Life office.
The University has not had a permanent head of African American Services since Paulette Cathey stepped down in mid-2017.
The hire comes a semester after the racially charged cotton-centerpiece controversy that took place at President Randy Lowry’s home in September.