Avila Now

May 13, 2021

Snorgrass named VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Headshot of J. Anthony Snorgrass
J. Anthony Snorgrass, Ph.D..

Kansas City, MO (05/13/2021) — Avila University announced today the appointment of J. Anthony Snorgrass, Ph.D., as vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), effective July 1. In this role, Snorgrass will oversee the University’s ongoing commitments to DEI among students, faculty and staff, informed by the mission and charism of Avila founders the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Leading the newly formed Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Snorgrass will also be a member of the University’s Executive Committee reporting to the president.

“Dr. Snorgrass is uniquely qualified to position Avila as a community leader in areas tied to social justice and DEI,” said Avila President Ronald A. Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA. “Through his many years as part of the faculty and exceptional student mentoring, he understands Avila, he understands our students and has been a vigilant supporter of many DEI initiatives. His experience is truly an asset as we look for ways to improve the Avila experience for every student.”

Currently a professor in the School of Visual & Communication Arts (VisCom), Snorgrass brings over 30 years of experience in leading strategies and solutions to promote diversity, equity and inclusion and organizational development. Prior to joining Avila University’s faculty in 2005, Snorgrass served as an executive with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Resolution Trust Corporation. There he initiated national legislation, policies, and procedures regarding the inclusion of minorities and women.

Snorgrass also served as the Executive Director for the Kansas City Housing Authority where his lobbying efforts fostered expanded diversity and representation on housing authority boards across the State of Missouri. He also instituted operational policies and programs with the Housing Authority which broadened minority and women representation throughout the agency’s operations.

As a consultant, Snorgrass has provided management assistance and board training services to many agencies and non-profit organizations including the Center for Management Assistance, Mid-America Regional Council, the KCK Board of Public Utilities, Kansas Department of Health & Environment, Swope Parkway Health Center, Center for Independence (CFI), the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative, National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials, KC’s DUI Commission, the American Jazz Museum, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Vine Street Studios, and many others throughout his career.

Dr. Snorgrass recently served as a Wyandotte County Unified Government ethics commissioner. He has made many media appearances on broadcast programs including KCUR, WDAF, and KCPT in the past few years.

Throughout these experiences Snorgrass initiated, advocated for and evaluated programs and practices to foster a more diverse and inclusive environment.

“Having the opportunity to join Avila’s executive team as the first VP for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is humbling, exciting and rooted in hope for our community of learners, our industry and the next generation of leaders,” Snorgrass said. In addition to the Office of DEI, Snorgrass will head the University’s new Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Social Justice.

“This work is truly at the intersection of my passion for community building, advocating for social good and my longstanding commitment to the advancement of equity and inclusion across the workforce, workplace, marketplace, in my artwork, and community. I couldn’t be more excited.”

Snorgrass earned his bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning & Environmental Design from the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design before attending the Ohio State University to earn his Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs and another master’s degree in City and Regional Planning (MCRP) from the Knowlton School. He earned his Ph.D. in Media and Public Policy from Walden University with a focus on Social Change.

“I look forward to supporting everyone across the organization as we partner together to create psychologically safe and brave spaces,” said Snorgrass. “As together we deepen the connections between our work and our values.”

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