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Denise Green resigns to pioneer diversity at Toronto university

Denise Green

Denise O’Neil Green is about to embark on an opportunity she said comes once in a lifetime.

Green, Central Michigan University’s assistant vice president for institutional diversity since 2007, will be leaving CMU at the end of July for a new position at Ryerson University in Toronto.

In an email sent Friday morning, Provost Gary Shapiro announced Green had resigned to accept the position of assistant vice president/vice provost of equity, diversity and inclusion at the Canadian university.

“I am very grateful for Dr. Green’s leadership in championing cultural change in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion at CMU,” Shapiro said. “We thank her for her tireless efforts and wish her and her family well as they embark on this new professional endeavor.”

Shapiro said he knew Green had been thinking about this decision for a while. For now, an interim will be hired to fill the role. CMU will begin searching for a new candidate in the fall, he said.

Green said she had always wanted to promote diversity and live in a different country. This move will allow her to do both.

She sees the new job as an opportunity for her to pioneer a diversity office at a college in one of the most diverse cities in the world.

“It would be one of the first in the country,” Green said. “What is in my future is an opportunity to work with diversity from a very different point of view, from another country.”

Green would not reveal the pay increase amount she would receive at the new school but said it was “a significant increase” compared to what she received at CMU. In 2011, Green earned $128,981.

The move is not only professional but personal to Green. In 2010, her son Matthew was the victim of a hit-and-run, drunk-driving accident, which left him a paraplegic. Matthew was sideswiped and dragged more than 1000 feet. Green said in 2010 “the next two years would determine if he ever walks again.”

Now, exactly two years after that tragic accident, her son will be starting over with her in a new country, new school and new life.

“My son is looking forward to coming to Canada and going to school there,” she said. “Drinking and driving is terrible and can impact families in so many different ways. Even though he is a paraplegic now, he is my miracle son, my hero.”

Under Green’s leadership, the diversity department received more than $1.8 million in grant funding to support low income and first generation college students, opened the Center for Inclusion and Diversity and established an inner group dialogue component at CMU.

“I’m very proud of the relationships I’ve established with close partnerships within the departments,” she said.

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