Thelathia “Nikki” Young to Lead Institutional Equity and Access at Haverford
The current associate provost for equity and inclusive excellence at Bucknell University will become Haverford’s vice president for institutional equity and access and professor of religion and gender and sexuality studies on Aug. 15.
Thelathia “Nikki” Young has been named Haverford College’s vice president for institutional equity and access, following a national search. She succeeds Norm Jones, who has served as interim chief diversity officer since last July. Young has also been appointed to the faculty in religion and gender and sexuality studies. She will join the Haverford community in both roles starting Aug. 15.
“I am excited to join the outstanding team that President Raymond has built, which includes members with strong experience as leaders in diversity and inclusion work,” she said. “Such a team shows the institution’s prioritization of the work of transformative progress toward inclusive excellence, and the understanding that such work necessitates a squad, not merely a captain. As a change-maker who is driven toward goals of social justice, peace-building, and collective and individual flourishing, I know I can enhance the already strong approach to fostering a community of learning and growth.”
“We are so fortunate to have Nikki Young joining us in August. The multi-dimensional strengths she brings to Haverford, at this time of significant investments in our shared work, have the capacity to be transformative,” said President Wendy Raymond. “I thank our search committee’s staff, faculty, and student members—and everyone who participated in the recruitment process—for their dedication to an outstanding national search. This kind of partnership, which Haverford does so well, will make all the difference as we continue to co-create our antiracism, inclusion, equity, and access action with Nikki Young.”
Young comes to Haverford from Bucknell University, where she has served as associate provost for equity and inclusive excellence since 2020 and has taught in both the women’s and gender studies and religion departments since 2011. In her role in the provost’s office, she has reimagined and restructured diversity, equity, and inclusion work on Bucknell’s campus, creating and supporting DEI councils across nine divisions and three colleges. She supervised the Griot Institute for the Study of Black Lives and Culture, the Office of Accessibility Resources, the Office of Civic Engagement, and the Teaching and Learning Center. She also developed the Transforming Community Initiative, a multi-element university initiative bridging scholarship, classroom efforts, and community engagement with DEI foundations.
“The search committee found Nikki to be incredibly smart, thoughtful, and engaging,” said Dean of the College John McKnight, who co-chaired the search with President Raymond. “We are thrilled that she brings such depth of experience and expertise as a scholar, teacher, and senior leader in diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism. Nikki offered a compelling vision of how she wants to connect with all campus constituents to understand our needs and to partner with us in our collective work toward structural change.”
Young earned her Ph.D. in religion and ethics from Emory University, where she also earned two master’s degrees: a master of theology, with a focus on race, gender, and sexuality and a master’s of divinity with a specialization in ethics. She also holds a B.A. in biology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She has been a senior fellow and coordinator at the Center for African-American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice at Columbia University.
She is the author of three books, including last year’s Queer Soul and Queer Theology: Ethics and Redemption in Real Life. Her next book, We Plead the Blood of Freedom: A Transnational Ethics of Black Queer Liberative Practice, is currently in progress. She has taught classes on queer Christian thought, race and sexuality, Black feminism, and more.
“My partner, Benae Beamon, and I are looking forward to joining and exploring a new community with our two dogs, Coco and Java, and cat, Sasha, and making strong bonds that reflect our hopes for an ethical future,” said Young. “We will bring a little bit of Southern flavor to the Arboretum.”