Fairfield University named Don C. Sawyer III, PhD, the new vice president of diversity, inclusion and belonging on Monday. Dr. Sawyer has over 20 years of higher educational experience in “university-community partnerships and diversity and inclusion programs,” according to the University’s press release. 

Beginning in July 2023, Dr. Sawyer will “serve as chair of the President’s Working Group on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, and will be an advocate, mentor, and resource.” He will work closely with executive leadership on “learning and development needs” surrounding race and ethnicity, gender identity, cultural humility and accessibility, among other areas, to ultimately foster greater “institutional inclusion and belonging.” Alongside this role, Dr. Sawyer will be joining Fairfield University’s faculty as an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Dr. Sawyer most recently held a position at Quinnipiac University as vice president for equity, inclusion and leadership development. He has also served in several administrative positions at Syracuse University, where he earned his PhD in sociology, his MA in sociology and his MS in cultural foundations of education. 

Beyond this, Dr. Sawyer has done extensive research in “sociology of race, race in higher education, sociology of hip-hop culture, urban sociology/international sociology and criminal

justice and reentry,” being well-published in academic journals and books and having presented at conferences across the nation. 

“Dr. Don Sawyer brings deep academic and leadership experience, and a commitment to the transformative power of education to this new role leading Fairfield’s institutional and cultural growth through diversity and inclusive excellence,” shared Fairfield University President Mark R. Nemec, PhD. 

“We look forward to his contributions as we continue to advance the University’s Jesuit Catholic commitment to creating and supporting radical hospitality and inclusive excellence in our teaching, learning, scholarship, and service.”


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