Griot Institute hosts incoming VP of Equity & Inclusive Excellence Vernese Edghill-Walden ‘87

Maximus Bean and Michael Taromina

Vernese Edghill-Walden ‘87, the recently-appointed Vice President of Equity & Inclusive Excellence at Bucknell, spoke in the Hildreth-Mirza Humanities Center on March 1. The event ran from 7 -8:30 p.m. and centered on “Legacies that Transform Community.”

Marcus Scales, director of Multicultural Student Services, moderated the event.

Edghill-Walden first spoke of her backstory and the road she took to get her to Bucknell. Starting life in New York City and moving to Poconos, Pa., never did she imagine herself landing in rural central at a university that would change her life. In the end, she claimed, it was “the best decision of her life”. 

Her experiences at Bucknell had a heavy impact on her life. In her words, Bucknell to her was an “elitist institution,” and throughout her time she “didn’t feel like she belonged here” until she found her community. There were only “60 Black students at the time” and as a result they “built their own community and saw themselves as a family.”

“Not everybody graduated with me,” she added. “Bucknell was not an easy place to be.” She knew ever since she graduated that she wanted to be an “advocate for students”.

Throughout the talk, she delved into why and how she found a purpose in activism within the small confines of Bucknell. She touched on the impact Bucknell’s small “bubble-like” community had on her and the current events going on in the outside world and history that motivated her to continue her education and make the most of it in order to make a difference. 

When asked about her words of wisdom for current students for creating and leaving a legacy in college, she told the audience that they need to “find purpose and passion” during their tenure at Bucknell. The best way for this is to “find your people who inspire you” and create those communities on-campus.

In the description about Dr. Edghill-Walden, it said that she “held several roles at Richard J Daley College and the system office of the City Colleges of Chicago including Director of Institutional Research and Provost. Preceding the City Colleges, she served as the Director of Diversity at Georgetown Day School and the Director of the Center for Black Culture at the University of Delaware.” 

The forum ended with a brief question and answer session where Edgill-Walden was asked and touched upon her upcoming role and responsibilities at Bucknell, and tips to foster a community despite the tension a small university can give. 

The event was co-sponsored by the Multicultural Student Services, Center for Alumni & Family Engagement, Office of Civic Engagement, Department of Education, CommUnity Zone.

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