Front: Familiar Face is New Director of CDI

Samuel Terry, the former assistant director of the CDI, receives promotion to director

Dominic DeGrinney, Newswire Intern

This fall, the Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CDI) welcomed their new director, Samuel Terry. 

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After nearly two years in various roles at Xavier, Samuel Terry has assumed the role of Director of the CDI. He hopes to empower students to use university resources and make a difference at Xavier.

Terry has worked at Xavier for almost two years now, beginning his journey at Xavier as assistant director of Student Services, success coach and advisor for biomedical sciences and biology majors and, until recently, the assistant director of the CDI. 

With over 20 years of higher-education experience, in his new position, Terry is seeking to embrace the mission of the CDI. 

Particularly, he believes the Jesuit value cura personalis is wholly aligned with the mission of the CDI. Caring for the whole person — in Terry’s eyes — is the primary motivating factor for the CDI to provide for students on campus who are especially vulnerable.

“We deal with students of color, first-generation students, low socioeconomic and LGBTQ+ students as well,” Terry said. 

“And what we strive to do is to be a catalyst for social change here at Xavier, creating safe spaces for our students,” he continued.

This year, Terry hopes to focus on empowering students in his new position. 

“I think for me, my key word this year is empowerment. What I really am striving to do is to empower students to make a difference here. They’re here not only to make a difference, but to empower them to seek resources to fight for social justice — to fight for a sense of belonging here at Xavier,” he said.

Terry emphasized that he doesn’t feel students are fully aware of the resources and programming the CDI offers.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize what the (CDI) does. We want to be a hangout spot for students — a place where they can work and  meet other people, but also we do a lot of programs to make sure that they are successful at Xavier,” he said.

Citing a few examples, Terry specifically mentioned programs such as Queeries, Barbershop Talk and the Multicultural Welcome Back.

Reflecting on his own experience as an undergraduate student, Terry expressed excitement to serve as a resource to students jumping at opportunities to get involved with the CDI.

“I was a first-gen student, and so I’ve always wanted to be a resource to students. The opportunity presented itself for me to come to the CDI last year as assistant director, and so I started over here last year,” Terry said. “It was never about me when I took the position… It’s all about what I can do to help students. I had a mentor who really pushed me to become who I am, and I’ve always strived to be like him.”

 Terry then served as the assistant director for Multicultural Affairs, advising 12 groups for students of color. He feels that through these opportunities, he has particularly enjoyed connecting with students and it has encouraged his continued involvement in the CDI.

“I think for me, it was more mentoring — making connections with students on a personal level. I did that for about a year, and the opportunity presented itself after our director left and I was appointed by our interim director Ivy Banks to be the next director,” he said.

For Terry, being the CDI director is not a job. He made the distinction that it is rather a “ministry” and a  “calling.”

Terry states that the work he does requires creativity and a new perspective to figure different ways of reaching out to those he desires to help, but beyond that, he believes that his job requires “heart” and “passion,” which he plans to bring in order to empower students to make a significant change on the Xavier campus.

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