A thought leader committed to creating and sustaining a welcoming and just campus climate for the Pace community
Stephanie Akunvabey, a native New Yorker who has dedicated her career in higher education to championing issues relating to equity and inclusion, has been named Pace University’s new associate vice president for diversity and inclusion and its chief diversity officer.
Akunvabey, Ed.D., joins Pace after holding leadership roles at colleges and universities throughout the region. Most recently, she served in a similar role at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island where she provided strategic leadership and developed policies and practices that support an anti-racist, diverse and equitable community across the university’s campuses in Bristol and Providence.
In making the announcement, Pace President Marvin Krislov praised Akunvabey’s experience in the field and her understanding of the university’s mission of Opportunitas, or creating opportunities for students, particularly those who are the first in their families to attend college.
“Stephanie is a talented leader with deep experience in the DEI space,” said Krislov. “Pace University is committed to providing transformative experiences for our diverse student body, and we’re pleased that we’ll be able to benefit from her insights and expertise. We’re excited to welcome her back to her hometown of New York and into our Pace Community.”
As chief diversity officer, Akunvabey will lead a division that is committed to creating and sustaining a welcoming and just campus climate for all members of Pace University through inclusive policies, practices, and programming for the University and its three campuses -- in New York City, Pleasantville, and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law in White Plains.
As leader of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, she oversees the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX Compliance; Office of Sexual and Interpersonal Wellness; Office of Gender and Sexuality; Office of Multicultural Affairs; and The LGBTQA+ Center. Akunvabey will also provide thought-leadership and oversight at The Barry M. and Jackie Gosin Center for Equity and Inclusion, which in 2021 was established to support ongoing efforts at Pace in anti-racism and equity, expand work to elevate job placement and entrepreneurship among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students, and enhance academic scholarship in these areas.
During her tenure in higher education, Akunvabey has held a number of leadership roles. While at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, she served as interim assistant dean of academic affairs where she helped develop the college’s equity plan and classroom equity efforts, enabling Kingsborough to participate in Achieving the Dream and USC Race and Equity Center’s Racial Equity Leadership Academy. Akunvabey also led campus dialogues and workshops to address social justice, civic engagement, and equity issues.
Akunvabey has an Ed.D. in Higher and Postsecondary Education, an M.A. in Higher Education and Student Personnel Administration from New York University, and a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology and Africana Studies from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. She has conducted research on college access for Black and Latino youth in America, on access and inclusion issues in higher education in India and Israel, and on educational equity for young girls in South Africa.
“I’m excited to return home to New York and to join Pace University in its mission of preparing students to be tomorrow's leaders and changemakers,” said Akunvabey. “I’m also eager to build on the strong foundation at an institution that truly exemplifies diversity and is committed to fairness, equity, and inclusion for all of its students.”
About Pace University
Since 1906, Pace University has been transforming the lives of its diverse students—academically, professionally, and socioeconomically. With campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, Pace offers bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs to 13,600 students in its College of Health Professions, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.