Alumnus Named Senior Diversity Officer at St. John Fisher College

May 17, 2021

After a nationwide search, St. John Fisher College has named one of its own as its new senior diversity officer. Dr. Marlowe V.N. Washington, an alumnus of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education’s Doctor of Executive Leadership (Ed.D.) program, will officially begin in his role on June 1.

Marlowe Washington

Marlowe Washington

In this senior-level position, Washington will report to the president and serve as a member of the College’s Senior Staff, overseeing the continuation of the College’s focused efforts supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Washington will collaborate with College stakeholders and operationalize strategic plan goals that aim to develop cultural competency skill sets, diversify the campus through recruitment and retention efforts, strengthen relationships with community leaders, and cultivate an environment that supports belonging.

 “Marlowe has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a proud graduate of Fisher, he has a keen understanding of both our history and our culture as well as our current work on these important issues,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of the College. “His experience in this field with other institutions has given him a strong basis to help us to continue our progress in this important work, incorporating the many recommendations brought forth by our Task Force and creating an inclusively excellent campus community that fosters a sense of welcoming and belonging for all.”

Washington brings nearly 30 years of urban-based executive, community, and transformational leadership to the College, having served several pastoral appointments, most recently as the pastor of Seneca United Methodist Church in Rochester; as an adjunct professor at Roberts Wesleyan College; and a member of several non-profit boards, including Keuka College.

Washington has led social justice movements, given lectures, and written opinion pieces that advocate for disenfranchised and marginalized communities. His ministry and executive work has focused on mission-oriented strategies to reduce poverty, improve housing, and foster economic development.

As a doctoral candidate at Fisher, Washington’s dissertation focused on executive leadership in higher education, with a concentration on diversity and inclusion. In 2019, he joined Fisher’s Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Equity, serving as an alumnus.

 “On day one, May 13, 2016, my cohort class and I were told within minutes in our new classroom at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education’s Ed.D. program a three-word mantra to simply, ‘Trust the Process.’ Exactly five years later, all I can say is it is like prophecy turning real. Returning to my beloved Fisher has created an overwhelming sense of joy and excitement I cannot explain,” said Washington. “I am deeply humbled to serve the campus community along with external partners to ensure all constituent members have the same opportunities on campus and that all experience the same sense of worth and belonging. Joining Dr. Rooney and his amazing team, creates the synergy I need to harness diverse and inclusive insights that fuel innovation and create value for everyone. I am ready to activate this purposeful vision.”

With a deep passion for civic engagement, Washington is a current member of the Monroe County Alliance for Transformation of Community and Police; the Rotary Club of Rochester; and the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities. Over the last decade, he has given his time to dozens of other community-based organizations, including the New York State Department of Justice Juvenile Division Youth Detention Task Force, Rochester Kids First Coalition, and Greater Rochester YMCA. He was the chair and founder of Rise Up Rochester, Inc., which grew from a collaboration between “You Bet I Told,” a public awareness campaign promoting an anti-no snitching and gun violence program and Families and Friends of Murdered Children and Victims of Violence, Inc.

Washington holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York; a master’s from the New York Theological Seminary in Manhattan, New York; and a doctor of ministry from Rochester’s Northeastern Seminary. He earned his doctor of education in executive leadership from Fisher in 2019.