why does diversity matter?
The history of higher education in the United States is one steeped in exclusion and inequality. Though it originated as a system to educate white men to serve as clergy for Puritans migrating to New England, it has transformed over nearly 400 years to become a pathway to prosperity. The expansion of access to education has yielded new discoveries, new ways of thinking and new methodologies that have advanced technology and innovation in all fields. However, while who had access to higher education changed, it often did so at a more rapid rate than many of the attitudes and prejudices that led to individuals and communities being excluded in the first place.
Even as more and more people were allowed to pursue post-secondary study, they often did so at the expense of personal safety or wellness. In addition to achieving in the classroom, overcoming bigotry and discrimination became a part of the collegiate experience for each newly-introduced group; women, people of color, low income people, Native and Indigenous people, LGBTQIA+ people and disabled people.
Today, while the overt hatred towards different groups has greatly diminished from college campuses, many remnants of this era remain — in the form of statues and monuments, names of buildings, course material being taught and the attitudes brought by students and employees alike. Each of these tells a story and sends a message about who is or is not welcome on campus, who is or is not a part of our campus history and community.
Without diversity, our ability to excel is severely hindered; without the experiences, perspectives and approaches brought by students, instructors and staff across identities, we miss opportunities for innovation and collaboration. Without diversity, we can lack the creativity that embodies what it means to be a Mountaineer: an intrepid explorer of what could be, who is unsatisfied with what is. By bringing a diverse community to campus and supporting their experiences, West Virginia University positions itself to be a leader in the state, the country and in the world. By acknowledging our place in the history of exclusion and discrimination, it allows us to learn from the past and develop critical learners and leaders poised to tackle the next set of challenges that face our world. Students who attend West Virginia University will interact with others who have experiences that are both similar to and different from their own, learn to make meaning of these experiences and develop an appreciation for difference. Further, they will leave equipped to participate on and lead diverse teams as part of a global marketplace.
Student Diversity Ambassadors
Become an ambassador.
Want to make your mark on diversity at WVU? Our ambassadors connect with current and prospective students to spread our mission.Read More: Student Diversity Ambassadors
Join the Celebration
WVU strives year-round to create and celebrate diversity and inclusion. But each year we also celebrate a Diversity Week, an entire week of programming that promotes the broad spectrum of diversity continuing to grow on our campus.Read More: Diversity Week
Multicultural Graduation Celebration
Commemorate Your Success
The Multicultural Graduation Celebration ceremony intentionally highlights and honors culture and celebrates diversity. Participating graduates will receive a cultural stole to wear over their graduation robe during the official commencement ceremonies.Read More: Multicultural Graduation Celebration
Graduate Education Initiatives
Explore Graduate Education
Take the next step on your academic journey. At WVU your growth will be fostered as a Scholar and Student of Color. Learn more about the Chancellor's Scholars Program and the Colloquium2020.Read More: Graduate Education Initiatives
Learn more about one of our newest initiatives - the M-Power mentoring program.