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Meet Cabrini’s First Director of Alumni Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Posted on 10/28/2020 3:00:03 PM

Cabrini’s Office of Institutional Advancement recently announced the appointment of Sherrise Rowe to Director of Alumni Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a new position created to further engage the University’s BIPOC and LGBTQ+ alumni. Rowe, who most recently served as a Gift Processing and Record Coordinator at Cabrini, said she is eager to connect a larger and more diverse alumni cohort with Cabrini students.

“Since Sherrise’s first day at Cabrini in 2018, she has worked with vision and passion to uphold our University’s social justice mission for the student and alumni communities,” said Steve Highsmith (’88), Vice President of Institutional Advancement. “With Sherrise as our Director of Alumni Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we aim to reinforce and expand much of the vital networking and mentoring Sherrise has already begun to facilitate for the community.”

In her new position, Rowe hopes to create an open dialog with alumni in order to make Cabrini’s alumni community more inclusive and collaborative, and to cultivate greater mentor relationships between students and alumni.

“Cabrini alumni have so much to offer our society at large, and I encourage our graduates to reach out to me directly so that we can work together to help Cabrini live out its mission and become a more inclusive and anti-racist campus that supports the diverse life experiences of our students,” she said. Alumni can contact Rowe at sherrise.rowe@cabrini.edu.

Rowe said it was important that alumni, particularly alumni of color and those in the LGBTQ+ community, connect with their alma mater to provide representation and an example of success for Cabrini’s BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students.

“Everyone just sees the finished product,” said Rowe, referring to established professionals students tend to see as role models. “But there’s a lot of labor and energy that goes into becoming a successful professional making a difference. We want the students to see that.”

Rowe also serves on the Board of Trustees-organized Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council, as well as the University’s Inclusivity Council. Through her work with the R.O.S.E. (Resilience, Outreach, Sisterhood, and Empowerment) workshop series—which connected women of color at Cabrini with female professionals of color from within the Cabrini community and beyond—Rowe said she was helping to fulfill an institutional need.

Maya Gordon, PhD, Associate Professor, Psychology, led Cabrini’s R.O.S.E. series and worked closely with Rowe on programming for the workshops.

“Sherrise’s organizational skills, creativity, and her ability to connect with people were invaluable during the R.O.S.E. workshop series,” said Gordon. “I know that these skills will be a tremendous asset in her new role as the Director of Alumni Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She is the perfect person to fill this role.”

In early March, Rowe worked with Ronald W. Whitaker II, EdD, Director of the Center for Urban Education, Equity, and Improvement, to invite prominent anti-racist author Tim Wise to the Center’s annual Shirley Dixon Celebration of Urban Education Symposium. Wise delivered a keynote examining “the fierce urgency of now.” Rowe said she looks forward to convening more panels that connect Cabrini alumni with the Office of University Diversity Initiatives and minority student groups, like Spectrum, the Black Student Union, and Pura Vida, among others.

These kinds of collaborations with faculty, students, and alumni are key to developing support networks for current students and recent graduates, Rowe said. She has practiced this inclusive leadership style through her work at the Boys and Girls Club of Chester, PA, and at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia with Rev. M. Lloyd Guyton, where she served as a Steward.

The daughter of Jamaican immigrants who often hosted international college students in their home, Rowe grew up in Florida and was the first in her family to attend college, earning a Bachelor of Science in Textiles and Product Development with a Business Administration minor from Florida State University. She moved to the Philadelphia area in 2009 and currently resides in southwest Philadelphia. Rowe is currently pursuing a Master of Business with a specialization in faith-based organizations at Regent University.

Rowe said her faith in God is a major inspiration behind her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. She sees a future in which the diversity of Cabrini’s campus is better reflected in its event programming and networking opportunities.

“I am excited to see people come back to campus and see themselves and their culture reflected in our mission, our communications, and events,” Rowe said. “We need buy-in from our alumni, students, faculty, and staff of all colors to make it happen. I am eager to change some perceptions. The University is willing to do the work, and my position shows that.”