WESTFIELD, Mass.— Westfield State University President Linda Thompson, DrPH, MPH, RN, FAAN has appointed LaRue A. Pierce, as Vice President for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
In this newly created position, Pierce will coordinate programs and initiatives to enhance Westfield State Universities’ commitment to a diverse, inclusive, equitable culture, supporting the mission and values of the university and the president’s focus on a humanistic approach to learning. Pierce will serve as a member of president’s cabinet, the university president’s council, and liaison to internal and external constituencies.
Pierce brings to Westfield more than 21 years of senior-level supervision and experience as an innovative leader, communicator, and strategic planner.
Recently, as dean of students at University of Wisconsin -Eau Claire, Pierce developed activities to meet the university’s goal of achieving 20 percent enrollment of students of color and created the Student Campus Climate Committee. He also served as Deputy Title IX Coordinator and developed activities to meet the university’s goal of 50 percent of students graduating within four years. He also coordinated a cross-campus development of Wellness Days and advocated for additional resources to enhance the counseling center’s capacity to assist students experiencing mental health related issues.
As assistant vice president/dean of students at Springfield Technical Community College, Pierce served as a member of the Hispanic Serving Institution Planning Committee and was chair of the Student Success Council. He also served as chief judicial officer and was responsible for the administration of the Student Code of Conduct and grievance procedures. While at STCC, Pierce streamlined budgets, saving the college $200,000 annually and, through a cross-campus partnership, helped secure a 3-year, $300,000 grant from the Office of Violence Against Women. Pierce also advocated for a mental health counselor available on campus, as opposed to a telehealth model, which increased the number of students utilizing the college’s mental health resources.
As a distinguished professional who maintains active professional affiliations across the field of higher education, Pierce has been recognized with numerous awards and honors for his service and dedication. He also has held positions of progressive responsibilities at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH, Vincennes University, in Vincennes, IN and St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.
Pierce hold a master’s degree in education and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology both from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. He is currently completing an Ed.D. in educational leadership at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.