Webster to hold two-day conference on diversity


Webster University is hosting a two-day conference in the Luhr building about critical conversations on diversity and the student community beginning Feb. 29 and ending March 1.

“We are committed to continued conversations followed by the actions necessary to keep moving forward” President Beth Stroble said in a press release.

The conference will host four keynote speakers talking about their views of diversity as well as panel discussions.

The first of the speakers will be Adis M. Vila, who will be moderating the discussion on Diversity and Inclusion: Global Challenge and Opportunities. Vila has 33-years experience working as a corporate executive, government official, academic administrator and attorney. She also served as the First Chief Diversity Officer at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The purpose of this two-day conference is to seek ways to move forward in the direction of equality and learn to value the strength that comes from the diversity on our own campus.

The evening keynote speaker will be Lee Gil who will discuss Diversity: Inclusive Excellence Beyond the Numbers. Gill is the Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Equity, and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Akron.

On the second day of the conference, Tahil Sharma will begin the morning discussing Interfaith Cooperation: Pluralism in the 21st Century. Sharma is a Youth Representative for the Parliament of the World’s Religions to the United Nations.

Before the final speaker, Aimee Wehmeier will be featured on Disability and Accessibility panel.  

Julia Serano will close the two-day conference with her talk on I’ll See It When I Believe It: On Perception and Gender Entitlement. Serano is a writer, performer, activist and author. She is best known for her book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. The book is a collection of personal essays that expose many misconceptions that people have about trans women and femininity.

The conference is free to all current Webster students. Lunch will also be provided both days after the lunch keynote.  The full schedule of events is below:


Mon. Feb. 29

9:15 a.m.- 10:30 a.m. Panel

Landscape of Diversity & Inclusion for Regional Higher Education Institutions

11 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. Panel

African-American Students Shaping Tomorrow

12:15 p.m.- 1:30 p.m. Adis Vila (Lunch provided)

Diversity & Inclusion: Global Challenges & Opportunities

1:45 p.m.-3 p.m. Panel

Hispanic Point of View

3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Panel

African-American Alumni Paying It Forward

7 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. Lee Gill

Diversity: Inclusive Excellence Beyond the Numbers


Tues. Mar. 1

9 a.m.- 10:30 a.m. Tahil Sharma (interactive session)

Interfaith Cooperation: Pluralism in the 21st Century

11 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. Panel

Disabilities and Accessibility feat. Aimee Wehmeier

12:15 p.m.- 1:30 p.m. Julia Serano (Lunch provided)

I’ll See It When I Believe It: On Perception and Gender Entitlement


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