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Diversity Director Loc Truong to Leave Harvard for MIT

University Hall houses many administrative offices of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
University Hall houses many administrative offices of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
By Graham W. Bishai and Hannah Natanson, Crimson Staff Writers

Loc Truong, the College’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion Programs, is stepping down from the role May 31 to become the Assistant Dean of Student Support Services at MIT after 13 years at Harvard.

Truong was named to the directorship—a position within Harvard’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion—in September 2015. As director, Truong served as the College’s point person for student organizations and supported first generation college students, undocumented students, and foster youth.

University Hall houses many of the College's administrative offices.
University Hall houses many of the College's administrative offices. By Charles K. Michael

Truong’s departure comes at a time of administrative uncertainty for the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, a part of the College’s Office of Student Life created less than two years ago. In October, Emelyn A. dela Peña, then the College’s assistant dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion, who headed the office, left Harvard for a position at Washington University in St. Louis.

In November, O’Dair said that a search for dela Peña's replacement was ongoing and would likely last through at least December 2016. Dela Pena’s position is still vacant.

Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair announced Truong’s departure in an email sent to undergraduates Monday afternoon.

“Loc has made a lasting impression here at Harvard as a dedicated student advocate, friend, and colleague,” O’Dair wrote in the email. “While I and countless students and colleagues will miss him deeply, I am also thrilled for Loc to be taking on this new, important position.”

In his new role at MIT, Truong will work to advise and support students, especially those whose “personal concerns” may interfere with their academic success, O’Dair wrote. He will also work with MIT faculty and staff, help develop school-wide programming, and will generally advise MIT affiliates on “issues that impact the student experience,” according to O’Dair.

While at Harvard, Truong pioneered various initiatives including the Diversity Peer Educator Program. Prior to acting as director of diversity and inclusion programs, Truong worked as the assistant director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations from 2008 to 2015.

Truong could not immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

In her email, O’Dair wrote that she was aware Truong’s decision to leave Harvard might have consequences for the student body.

“We know the importance of Loc’s position, and the impact his role has in our community,” O’Dair wrote.

She outlined an “interim support plan” the College will follow to ensure what she called Truong’s “critical work” continues. Beginning May 31, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow Ileana F. M. Casellas-Katz will step up to oversee the Diversity Peer Educators program and will become responsible for advising and supporting students, while Director of the Office of International Education Camila L. Nardozzi will partner with College Associate Dean and Chief of Staff Joan Rouse to oversee support for undocumented students through the summer of 2017. Katie M. Derzon will continue in her role as Fellow for Undocumented Students, a position Harvard created in February.

O’Dair added that Truong will continue to be available to undergraduates until May 31 and encouraged students to reach out to him.

“I ask that you all join me in wishing Loc the very best for his continued success at MIT,” O’Dair concluded her email.

—Staff writer Hannah Natanson can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @hannah_natanson.

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