Presbyterian College president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg announced today that Dr. Selena Blair is the college’s first Rogers-Ingram Vice President for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Blair is currently the director of equity and inclusion and Title IX coordinator at Limestone University in Gaffney. This year, she also earned her doctor of education in professional leadership from Converse University in Spartanburg.
Last fall, vandenBerg announced PC’s commitment to establishing the position, along with a seven-figure philanthropic commitment from PC trustee Louise Rogers Slater to name and endow it. Slater’s gift honors the memory of her late parents, Bill and Connally Rogers. Her gift also celebrates the legacy of PC professor of political science emeritus Dr. Booker T. Ingram, the college’s first African American professor and first director of diversity and inclusion.
During Ingram’s long tenure at PC, he was an ardent champion for diversity on campus. He formed the college’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council and chaired the Moving Forward Together Steering Committee. He launched PC’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day convocation and the Black History Month lecture that now proudly bears his name.
“PC believes in the inherent dignity and self-worth of every individual,” vandenBerg said. “Dr. Blair emerged from a phenomenally talented and accomplished candidate pool as the clear consensus choice of our students, faculty, and staff. I look forward to partnering with her to ensure that PC is a welcoming, nurturing, and empowering institution for all.”
Blair said she is honored to join PC as the inaugural vice president for JEDI.
“With the increased diversification of student bodies nationwide, now more than ever, colleges must be intentional with creating just, equitable, and inclusive environments where individuals can be fully embraced and respected for being their authentic selves,” she said. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with all stakeholders to make this a reality for all who live, learn, work, and visit PC.”
Blair is a 2004 graduate of Limestone, where she earned a bachelor of social work degree. She earned a master of arts in counseling from Webster University in 2007.
In addition, Blair earned a certification in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace from the University of South Florida and is a certified trainer with Employment Learning Innovations Inc. and the National Coalition Building Institute.
Blair, a TRIO alumna, began her professional career as an administrative specialist and counselor for the TRIO Educational Talent Search at Williamsburg Technical College in Kingstree. In 2005, she joined the staff at Greenville Technical College – first as a financial aid officer and associate director of financial aid before serving as director of TRIO Student Support Services. In 2012, she became the director of TRIO Student Support Services at the University of South Carolina Upstate, where she also served as an adjunct professor.
Blair has held numerous leadership positions at the state, regional and national levels to further philanthropic endeavors as well as advocating on Capitol Hill for policy changes and increased funding to benefit marginalized students. In 2017, Blair was the first person elected from the state of South Carolina as president of the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel and has served on the National Board of Directors for the Council of Opportunity in Education. She is an experienced grant writer, consultant, and presenter.
Blair is a four-time winner of the S.C. TRIO Presidential Award for Exceptional Service and a 2012 winner of the Randall E. McNeal Spirit of TRIO Staff Award. That same year, she earned Greenville Technical College’s Unsung Hero Award. In 2013, she was the Unsung Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel Supporter, and in 2014, she earned the USC Upstate Multicultural Programs Empowerment Award.
Blair is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and is an active parent volunteer with the Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands. She is also a minister in training, director of public relations, church clerk, and youth advisor at New Hope Christian Church.
Slater said the college’s commitment to inclusion is critical to recruiting and retaining students from marginalized communities and a powerful witness to the college’s relationship with the Presbyterian Church.
“We want PC to be welcoming of all faiths and all ethnicities,” she said. “I see it as part of our Presbyterian heritage. I am excited that we are engaging in this endeavor with the help of the new vice president for JEDI. I see it as an impact investment in those young people who have been marginalized all their lives.”
President vandenBerg thanked members of the vice president for JEDI search committee for their diligence. The members are:
- Dr. Kendra Hamilton, chair
- Dr. Drew Brandel, ’13
- Dr. Will Harris
- Dr. Julie Meadows
- Dr. Philip Perdue
- Drew Peterson
- Dr. Craig Powell, ’86
- Dr. Jaclyn Sumner
- Dr. Tiffaney Threatt
- Joe Wideman, Esquire ’13, president of the PC African-American Alumni Council