Knights of Color

Knights of Color

Chief Diversity Officer reflects on initiatives, campus voices during Black History Month


By Dr. Donald “DJ” Mitchell 
Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer 
Professor of Education
Chair, Master's in Higher Education Leadership and Social Justice program 


In February 2020, I agreed to take on a new role as Bellarmine University's first-ever Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. I began serving in this role, while maintaining my faculty appointment in the Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education, in June 2020. The events of last summer, in Louisville and across the nation, did not make for a quiet beginning. 

I work with our president, Dr. Susan M. Donovan, as a member of her cabinet, to ensure Bellarmine is constantly making progress as a place where every student, faculty member, staff member, and member of our alum community thrives. I also work with the Bellarmine community to foster meaningful external partnerships around education, health and wellness and financial empowerment, because we know we are better when Louisville is better.   
It has been a pleasure to begin leading university-wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives as we strive to become more inclusive and equitable, especially as our campus community becomes more diverse. I also guide implementation work for strategic priority 4 of our strategic plan -- our commitment to equity and inclusion. We are constantly at work to ensure you belong.  
Black History Month offers an opportunity to reflect on some of our initiatives and to support and celebrate Black members of our community: 
  • The Bellarmine Black Student Union, a forum for Black students to voice their differences, goals and ideas
  • Sixteen student events organized by the Dr. Patricia Carver Office of Identity and Inclusion in celebration of Black History Month
  • The Bellarmine Black Caucus, our faculty and staff affinity group for Black faculty and staff and their allies 
  • The scholarship and teaching of Dave Clark, Dr. Joe Flipper, Dr. Jakia Marie, Dr. Annette Powell and Dr. A.T. Simpson, all of whom contribute to educating our community about Black experiences across various fields, including music, literature, cultural anthropology, and theology 
  • The 15th Annual Thomas Merton Black History Month Lecture, focusing on the gift of Black Catholics to the Universal Church
  • The career and upcoming retirement of Lynn Bynum, Bellarmine’s first human resources professional who served the university for over 21 years 
I encourage you to visit our diversity, equity and inclusion website, where you will find several of the initiatives we have in place to ensure success, including: 
Please visit that website often to remain engaged in the diversity, equity and inclusion work we are doing, and if you have any questions or recommendations, I personally look forward to hearing from you. 

Tags: Knights of Color

About Bellarmine University

Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.