Leon E. Wiles was named chief diversity officer at Clemson University, a position reporting to President James F. Barker, in July 2008.
Wiles comes from USC Upstate in Spartanburg, SC, where he held the position of vice chancellor for student and diversity affairs since 1982. He began as dean of students and moved up steadily to assume more responsibility for all student affairs and diversity efforts. Prior to that, he served as director of the developmental year program at Pennsylvania State University.
At Clemson, the chief diversity officer serves as the president’s senior executive responsible for all major equity and inclusion efforts. He sits on the administrative council and advises the president, provost and vice presidents on policies and programs that contribute to the university’s mission and goals and reflect its core values.
“Leon Wiles will lead our university efforts to be a national leader in developing a diverse campus community, which includes ensuring a diverse student body, faculty and staff,” said Barker. “We are extremely fortunate to have a professional of his caliber and experience join the Clemson team.
“Clemson already has many excellent initiatives and diversity programs,” Barker said, citing the Gantt Intercultural Center, the Emerging Scholars program, Call Me MISTER and academic programs in women’s studies and Pan-African studies.
The chief diversity officer will provide direction and collaboration among these efforts as well as develop and implement initiatives to provide focus and accountability for equity and inclusion efforts across the university.
He also will chair the planning committee for Clemson’s nationally known annual conference on Best Practices in Black Student Achievement.
Wiles graduated from the Cincinnati public schools and earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology, cum laude, from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark. He holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh and has completed doctoral coursework in higher education administration at the University of South Carolina Columbia.
In 2007, he was awarded an individual Upstate Diversity Leadership Award by the Riley Institute at Furman University and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.