Hendrix College Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Kesha Baoua will retire at the end of the fall 2023 semester.
“We are grateful to Kesha for her leadership of the College’s diversity and inclusion efforts,” said Hendrix College President Karen Petersen. “She has played a pivotal role in our community. She has been an advocate and ally for our students, a champion for campus diversity issues, and a trusted colleague to faculty and staff.”
Baoua joined the Hendrix staff in 2006 as the Director of Multicultural and International Student Services. In that role she provided International Student Orientation, served as the immigration advisor, provided leadership training to multicultural student organizations, and advised several multicultural student organizations.
“I made it my mission to take care of the students, create strong bonds within the international student community and the greater community, and to ensure students had the opportunity to share their cultures and to experience American culture,” said Baoua. “Some of my favorite memories are the expressions of appreciation from the parents of graduating international students, seeing former students who met at Hendrix meet up across the globe, and hearing updates from alumni across the world.”
In 2012, Baoua was asked to serve as the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities. During that time, she assisted students in forming the Muslim Student Association and created Brothers Respectfully Uniting at Hendrix (BRUH). She created Sisters in Solidarity (SIS) and the Staff of Color Network in 2019, shortly after being asked to serve as the Interim Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer.
In 2020, Baoua was named Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. She developed and led the implementation of the “Demand.Action.Change” plan in response to feedback from campus during the 2019-20 academic year.
“We had to have some serious conversations as a campus about where we were and where we wanted to be regarding DEI. I’m proud of the way the campus community came together, worked hard, and implemented so many changes to improve our community,” said Baoua. “There is still work to do, but the shared sense of responsibility for this work is what will continue the forward progress in these efforts.
“I have worked with students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, the community, and Board members, and it has been such a pleasure,” she said. “My husband and I took students to Niger twice. I’ve planned programs and camps for kids and teens, developed relationships with local businesses and organizations, trained conduct panels, worked with faculty on grant proposals, attended more campus parties than I can recall, taught Explorations, collaborated with LGBTQ+ community leaders, worked with students through some of their best and worst days, advocated for underrepresented communities, worked with retired Hendrix employees to re-connect them with students, and so much more. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I had at Hendrix and for the love and support my husband, son, and I have received.”