President Barbara R. Snyder and Provost Ben Vinson III today announced the appointment of a longtime Ohio State University diversity leader as Case Western Reserve’s new vice president for inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity.
Robert Solomon, an Akron native who serves as Ohio State’s assistant provost for diversity and inclusion, begins his new role Feb. 1.
“Words cannot express how immensely honored and humbled I am to be appointed the next vice president for the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity,” Solomon said. “I share Case Western Reserve’s desire to be an inclusive community in which everyone feels safe, respected and valued, and I am thrilled to pursue these ideals under the leadership of nationally renowned thought leaders like President Barbara R. Snyder and Provost Ben Vinson.”
At Ohio State Solomon served on the office’s executive leadership team and helped execute policies and practices aimed at enhancing the institution’s culture, climate and curriculum with regard to inclusive excellence. He also worked with multiple university offices—among them enrollment services, undergraduate education, human resources and student life—in developing and reaching diversity goals.
Prior to assuming the assistant provost role in 2015, Solomon spent 14 years as the inaugural chief diversity officer for OSU’s Moritz College of Law. In that role he worked with faculty and staff to support inclusive hiring approaches and also worked to support and increase engagement among racial and ethnic minority students, LGBTQ students, women, veterans and students from faith-based affinity groups.
“Rob brings deep experience and a profoundly thoughtful perspective on diversity and inclusion in higher education and across society,” President Snyder said. “His accomplishments at Ohio State speak not only to his commitment to these issues, but also his ability to achieve meaningful progress.”
A native of Akron, Solomon grew up dreaming of being the first in his family to earn a college degree. In 1985 he received his bachelor’s degree in communications from Lipscomb University, and three years later received his juris doctorate from OSU. Early in his career, He practiced law on behalf of the state of Ohio and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and also served as a county magistrate.
Since 1995, however, he has worked in multiple roles to advance the mission of higher education, in particular with regard to engaging and developing young people in an inclusive manner. As Moritz’s dean of admissions and financial aid, for example, he led efforts that increased the law school’s proportion of minority student enrollment by nearly 40%; at the university level, he led efforts that grew the yield of students admitted under OSU’s prestigious diversity/merit scholars undergraduate scholarship program from 29 to 41% among African-American students and from 20 to 32% among Latinx students.
“Robert understands personally the power of higher education to change lives, and has dedicated decades to helping Ohio State to increase opportunities for students,” Provost Vinson said. “He also has worked effectively to nurture the campus community’s work toward inclusive excellence. I look forward to partnering with him to build on the office’s strong foundation.”
Solomon succeeds Marilyn Mobley, a professor of English who served more than a decade as Case Western Reserve’s inaugural vice president for inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity.
Joy Bostic, an associate professor of religious studies and founding director of the minor in African and African American Studies, has served as interim vice president since July.
Solomon and Dinessa, his wife of 29 years, co-founded the nonprofit Foundations for Families and lead the Marriage and Family Ministry. They have two children, Robert III (“Lee”), also a Lipscomb University graduate and a minor league baseball player in the San Diego Padres organization, and Allegra, a senior at Ohio University.