Renowned diversity expert Damon A. Williams to speak at MSU’s 2019 Diversity Conference

Damon A. Williams (Photo submitted)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—One of the world’s foremost authorities on diversity, equity and inclusion is the featured speaker for Mississippi State University’s 2019 Diversity Conference on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at The Mill at MSU in Starkville.

Damon A. Williams, one of the nation’s recognized experts in strategic diversity leadership, youth development, corporate responsibility, educational achievement, social impact and organizational change, is this year’s keynote speaker. His talk takes place on Jan. 31 from noon-1:30 p.m. in The Mill's Ballroom C.

Conference registration is $25 for students, $99 for faculty and staff, and can be completed online at Registration is open to the public, and campus departments are encouraged to sponsor attendance for faculty, staff and students. The conference is organized by the MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities.

With the theme “Our Voices—When Diversity Matters,” the event will address ways to use one’s voice to create an environment of inclusiveness in higher education. Strategies for building inclusive communities, engaging the campus and larger community in diversity, advocacy and recruiting, and retaining a diverse faculty and staff are among topics of discussion.

Williams has worked with more than 700 colleges and universities, Fortune 100 companies, foundations and government agencies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and black world studies and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Miami University. He also received a doctorate from the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Higher and Post-Secondary Education, where he specialized in the area of organizational behavior and management.

In 2013, Williams received the coveted Inclusive Excellence Award of Leadership from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, as well as a leadership commendation from the 13 research universities comprising the Committee on Institutional Cooperation for his landmark contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion strategy on a global level.

For four years, Williams served as senior vice president and chief education officer at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, where he led the program strategy for one of the most ambitious social impact plans in the history of the nonprofit world, the Great Futures Campaign for Impact.

A best-selling author, Williams was a founding member of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. His most recent work is “Voice, Choice, Access and Passion: Preparing the Centennial Generation for Leadership,” one of the first publications on the Centennial Generation that discusses key strategies required to prepare youth born after 1997 for leadership in a diverse, global and interconnected world. He also is launching a new research and learning venture, The Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership and Social Impact. For more, see

Additional conference details can be obtained by contacting MSU’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at 662-325-2493 or

Learn more about MSU’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at and the President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at