On November 18, 2015, David Angel listened intently from the first row in Tilton Hall as students of color offered frank and sometimes painful testimonials at a special forum devoted to matters of race at Clark. He acknowledged that the issues raised “were very real and very raw” and vowed to make changes that would sustain and enhance a culture of inclusion across campus.
Among his early actions was hiring Sheree Ohen as Clark’s first full-time chief officer of diversity and inclusion. Ohen spearheaded the Survey on Campus Culture and Community, which collected unvarnished data on people’s experiences, opportunities, and perspectives in areas like race and ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and political views. The survey results, and follow-up forums, are helping shape strategies to promote a more accepting and respectful Clark.
“David has been a great partner,” Ohen says. “He’s been committed at every stage, with institutional resources to help foster an environment that leads with compassion and empathy. It’s David who says it’s time for Clark to act on its aspirations, and he’s pushed me to make good on that promise.” When Clark won a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award in 2018, she notes, “David said, ‘That’s wonderful. But we have a lot more work to do.’”
President Angel, Ohen adds, has been unafraid to publicly reaffirm Clark’s values in a range of areas, including support for undocumented citizens and LGBTQ+ rights. “He’s been authentic and courageous at a time when other university presidents have not always been willing to speak out,” she says. “David gives visibility to the invisible.”
Read more about David Angel’s Clark legacy: