ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS (July 9, 2024) — Augustana College announces the selection of Sam Wright to serve as assistant director and LGBTQ+ coordinator in the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity.

Wright, a 2020 Augustana graduate from St. Louis, Missouri, joined Augustana July 8. Wright currently is president of the Palomares Justice Institute, which serves the socio-economic needs and interests of Moline's Floreciente neighborhood and other less empowered communities through advocacy, grassroots, outreach, and culturally-sensitive services.

Dr Gauri Pitale, Augustana’s vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, said Wright brings to this position a wealth of community ties in and around Augustana.

“The person serving in this role is a vital resource for our LGBTQ+ community members and will be working closely with our students to implement programming from the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity,” she said. “I am excited for Sam to join us and continue this important work to maximize student potential at Augustana."

Prioritizing student success is a key focus of the college’s strategic plan, Bold and Boundless, with a goal of identifying the strengths and needs of students so that they can achieve their life and career goals. The strategic plan also focuses on engaged learning through interdisciplinary hands-on experiences and working with the city of Rock Island to contribute to the vitality of the community.

As a student at Augustana, Wright triple majored in Spanish, Political Science, and Psychology and was a member of Chi Omega Gamma sorority, Habitat for Humanity and Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society.

“I am so grateful to be able to give back to Augustana and be a part of the student experience that enabled me to grow into who I am today,” Wright said.

The Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity was formed in 2018, with an emphasis on creating an inclusive campus community for all students, with an intentional focus on students of color and historically underserved students.

The office empowers students through holistic development and relevant programming, including the PACE Multicultural Mentorship Program for first-year students of color; Diversity Equity, and Inclusion student training; and the annual Shades of Beauty Summit, an event for women to share, discover, and celebrate their beauty.

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