(Charleston, IL) –Eastern Illinois University has announced John Blue as its inaugural Executive Director & Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Blue will begin on January 8, 2024.
Eastern President Jay Gatrell looks forward to working with Blue to engage and support EIU’s students, employees, and culture in ways that will enrich EIU’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
“This position is critical for our campus, students, and employees as it focuses on ensuring every member of our EIU community experiences an authentic sense of belonging that will enable them to thrive,” Gatrell said.
“My vision for EIU is to become an institution that is a thought leader and resource in reference to diversity, equity, and inclusion, not only within the Charleston community, but Coles County, the State of Illinois, and the region," Blue added. "My vision is built on the foundational principles of respect, collaboration, and engagement. It revolves around four core pillars: first, education & awareness; second, recruitment & retention; third, inclusive environment; and fourth, community engagement. I am excited about joining the Panther Nation! I am looking forward to meeting the students, faculty, staff, and Charleston & Coles County community members to start the work of not only creating but sustaining a strong sense of belonging for all stakeholders at Eastern Illinois University.”
“I am very pleased that John has accepted this important role and look forward to working with him to advance EIU’s mission, enhance student success, and create a community of shared values that we all can be proud of,” Gatrell added. “John is a passionate leader who cares deeply about inclusive excellence and student success and has a record of being a difference maker in his prior leadership roles.”
Blue comes to EIU from St. Petersburg College in Florida, where he previously served as Director of the College’s Educational Opportunity Center. He also has held leadership roles at the University of Arkansas (Fort Smith) as its inaugural Executive Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (2021-22), the University of Tennessee at Martin as its Director of Student Life and Multicultural Affairs (2018-20), and at Mississippi State University (Starksville) as Assistant Director of the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center (2016-18). Blue also has held positions at Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, Florida), Broward College (Pembroke Pines, Florida), and Hillsborough Community College (Tampa). He is currently completing an Ed.D. in Higher Education at the University of Mississippi, and previously has earned a Master of Science degree In Leadership from Nova Southeastern University (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Jackson State University (Mississippi).