Thomas Witherspoon is the vice president of diversity and inclusion at Whitman College
Denison University Posse alumnus Thomas Witherspoon.

Denison Alum Becomes Whitman College VP of Diversity and Inclusion

Summer 2019 | National

Thomas Witherspoon, a Posse alumnus of Denison University, is the new vice president of diversity and inclusion at Whitman College. His appointment to the role reflects his deep commitment to serving under-resourced communities and to advancing equity and inclusion in higher education.

Thomas grew up in Englewood, Chicago, in a supportive household that included his grandmother, mother, older brother, and extended family. A first-generation college student, he vividly remembers the phone call he received informing him that he had won a Posse Scholarship.

“I dropped the phone and went running through the house screaming,” says Thomas.” It was one of the best moments in my life. I so wanted to go to college but didn’t know how I was going to afford it, didn’t know how I was going to be supported through it.”

“My goal here is to really think about how we are looking at inclusion, how we are supporting students, faculty and staff.”

As a student at Denison, Thomas held several leadership roles, becoming president of the Freshman Foundation, a class senator in the student government, and a NASPA student affairs fellow. He also founded a chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity on campus.

After graduating from Denison, Thomas went on to receive his master’s in education from Northeastern Illinois University and a doctoral degree in education from New England College. Prior to joining the administration at Whitman, he served as the assistant dean of undergraduate students at Dartmouth College, associate director of admissions at Boston University, and, most recently, as associate dean of students and director of multicultural student support services at his alma mater, Denison University.

Now in his first year at Whitman, Thomas sees his new role as an opportunity to strengthen an already vibrant campus community.

“My goal here is to really think about how we are looking at inclusion, how we are supporting students, faculty and staff,” he says. “It’s a big and exciting task.”

Thomas acknowledges that the Posse network has always been key for him.

“I have a network of people behind me who get it, pushing me forward. That’s why I feel such a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion work—because if it wasn’t for Posse, my life would be very different.”