Forbes to expand diversity efforts in new leadership roles at MSU

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Ra’Sheda Forbes (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State staff member with a longstanding commitment of fostering a diverse and inclusive campus community has been named her alma mater’s Interim Assistant Vice President of Multicultural Affairs.

Ra’Sheda Forbes, who has served the past two years as the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center’s associate director, also is now its permanent leader.

“My goal is to continue to enhance the infusion of diversity into the intricacies of the university’s mission and vision,” Forbes said. “The Holmes Cultural Diversity Center and Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion will be launching some new initiatives that will holistically impact and advance diversity efforts across the institution. I’m really excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Originally from Meridian, Forbes holds a bachelor’s in biological science and master of public policy and administration from MSU. Becoming a university staff member in 2008, she brought community engagement experience from her work as outreach director and youth camp administrator for the World of Faith Christian Center in Starkville.

Over the years, Forbes has worked her way up the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center ranks, serving as administrative assistant, assistant director and associate director.

In both of her new roles at the university, Forbes will continue providing individual mentorship to minority students and international students seeking personal, social and intellectual support. She also will counsel student groups working to enhance a diverse campus environment that promotes academic and social success.

MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Young Hyatt commended Forbes’ commitment to enhancing Mississippi State’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.

“The efforts that Ra’Sheda is leading in the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center and Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion are directly related to student success and faculty/staff recruitment and retention, both important goals for the university,” Hyatt said.

“Ra’Sheda’s past experiences and ability to provide vision for the future of diversity and inclusion work make her a tremendous asset to our team,” Hyatt added.

Additionally, Forbes will represent the interests of minority and international students through her continued service to a variety of university committees, including the Safe Zone Advisory Board, a campus-wide program that promotes a welcoming and safe community for LGBTQ students, faculty and staff.

Forbes said she also is excited to continue lending her leadership vision as adviser for the business-oriented campus organization, Intelligent Dignified Elegant Ambitious Leaders (I.D.E.A.L. Woman). Founded by Forbes in 2009, the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center-sponsored program helps young women achieve personal and professional growth through networking with positive role models.

Among her other duties, Forbes will maintain her role as adviser for the Black Student Association, Black Voices Gospel Choir, as well as the Peers Assisting with Students, or PAWS Program. Designed to foster student engagement and development, the peer counseling initiative provides tutorial and counseling assistance for freshman minority and international students.

Since arriving at MSU, Forbes’ contributions have earned her numerous honors, including the prestigious Zacharias Distinguished Staff Award that she received this past spring. Her other recognitions include Day One Leadership Program Mentor, Outstanding African American Female in the Workplace by the campus chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Legend of Mississippi State University.

For more information on MSU’s Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, visit; Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at

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