It is my honor and privilege to serve as the inaugural Special Assistant to the President for matters relating to race relations and equality at The Catholic University of America.

As stated in the Sister Thea Bowman Committee report, “Catholic University’s commitment to address the sin of racism and to building a Christian culture on campus is rooted in the Catholic faith upon which the University is founded and thrives.” I look forward to serving and supporting the entire Catholic University community, and I offer the following additional concepts toward our common understanding and commitment.

We are a diverse institution. People come to the University with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, to include those related to their race, upbringing, and opportunities. Our challenge is to value, understand, and respect those differences; and understand how a diverse mix of people can make us a stronger institution through commitment and day-to-day support of Catholic University’s core values and improving the University’s mission performance.

We are committed to provide fair access, opportunity, and advancement for all members of the University community; while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that may have prevented the full participation of some individuals or groups.

Addressing these issues on an ongoing basis should foster an environment where different perspectives are welcomed and respectfully expressed and heard, and every individual feels a sense of belonging. This includes bringing traditionally excluded and underrepresented individuals or groups into processes, activities, and decision making in a way that shares power and ensures equal access to opportunities and resources.

All of these programs, initiatives, and improvements are inextricably linked to Catholic University’s efforts to improve mission performance.

The University’s mission performance is continually enhanced as enabled by improvements in all areas of race relations and equality, and the University maintains persistence such that the associated goals and aspirations are institutionalized within the culture of the University.

As I take on the duties of special assistant, please know that you have my commitment toward working with the University leaders and our entire Catholic University community to ensure that the recommendations of the Bowman Committee are fully considered. A couple of the recommendations have already been implemented, including the creation of my role and assumption of the leadership at the start of the academic year. I will be a persistent voice in ensuring that the Bowman recommendations are honored, but I also intend to consider other issues that, in the spirit of Sister Thea, demand attention and action. I can be reached any time at Feel free to come to my office in Pangborn Hall, Room 100, or please invite me to visit you. I look forward to hearing from you as we move forward. My plan is to report back to you periodically.

Mel Williams, Jr., Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Former Associate Dean of Engineering, Former Special Assistant to the President