Berry College has appointed Haley Morgan Smith as its inaugural Chief Diversity and Belonging Officer.
Smith came to Berry in 2020 and served as Director of Diversity and Inclusion before her promotion in June. Previous roles at Berry include Director of Student Diversity Initiatives and Director of the Gate of Opportunity program.
Smith has over a decade of experience in community organizing and reconciliation in rural contexts. She has shared the stage with Dr. Bernice King, Latasha Morrison, Pastor Andy Stanley and Bob Goff, speaking to thousands of leaders about mobilizing students to serve with a goal of cultivating more inclusive communities.
Smith will help lead Berry’s efforts to support a diverse community committed to a culture of belonging. She will build partnerships with other offices on campus and offer a variety of educational opportunities and community events for employees and students. A complementary goal will extend these efforts to surrounding communities in cooperation with local organizations in the Rome area and with national organizations.
This past year, Smith facilitated a partnership with the King Center to provide the Berry community with expertise and educational materials explaining Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of the beloved community and strategy on nonviolence. This summer, more than 150 employees are completing an online course funded through a grant from the King Center.
“My goal is to see Berry be a model of practicing good neighbor culture on a college campus and the communities the college impacts. I believe wholeheartedly that Berry College is the kind of place that can do that,” Smith said.
President Steve Briggs noted that Berry is committed to being a place that embraces a diversity of people and viewpoints, respecting our differences and valuing dialogue.
“Haley is leading our efforts to bring these commitments to life. She’s deepening our understanding of belonging and what it means to be a good neighbor in a way that is consistent with Berry’s core values,” Briggs said. “She steps into this new role at a pivotal moment, as we enter an election cycle during which political forces will promote fear and hatred for their own gain. We need bridge-builders like Haley.”
Smith has a bachelor’s degree in communication from Shorter College and a master’s degree in transformational leadership with a concentration in peace studies and restorative justice from Eastern Mennonite University. She is a certified diversity professional, a practitioner of Kingian Nonviolence and a certified practitioner of strategies for trauma and resiliency.
For more information on Berry’s Culture of Belonging, please visit https://www.berry.edu/belonging/ and https://www.berry.edu/student-life/diversity-inclusion/.