Contact: Sasha Steinberg
STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State staff member with a longstanding commitment of fostering a diverse and welcoming campus community officially has been named her alma mater’s assistant vice president for multicultural affairs.
Ra’Sheda Forbes has been serving in the interim multicultural affairs AVP role since fall 2016, when she also was named director of the university’s Holmes Cultural Diversity Center. She previously served for two years as the center’s associate director.
In making the announcement, MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Young Hyatt expressed appreciation for the integral role that Forbes and colleagues in the HCDC and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion have played in advancing the work of inclusive excellence on campus.
“With Ra’Sheda’s leadership, we are confident Mississippi State’s efforts related to diversity and inclusion will help ensure our university continues to be a place where all of our students, faculty and staff can be successful,” Hyatt said.
MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner also commended Forbes for her ability to think strategically and build relationships with individuals and organizations across the university.
“Ra’Sheda’s vision, experience and commitment to collaboration will be key to her success in this important leadership position,” Bonner said.
Originally from Meridian, Forbes holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences 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 HCDC ranks, serving as administrative assistant, assistant director and associate director. Her contributions have earned her numerous honors, including the prestigious Zacharias Distinguished Staff Award she received in 2016. 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.
In both of her new roles, 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.
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.
“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.”
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.
Forbes also will 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 HCDC-sponsored program helps young women achieve personal and professional growth through networking with positive role models.
For more information on MSU’s Division of Student Affairs, visit www.saffairs.msstate.edu; Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, www.union.msstate.edu/hcdc; Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at www.oidi.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.