Can you tell me about yourself and your story?
My name is Fanchon Glover. I go by Chon. I am from Greenwood, South Carolina. I am an only –child, first generation student, and in February, I completed my 23rd year at William & Mary. My first role at W&M was assistant director of Multicultural Affairs, then I became director, and then had a brief stint as interim assistant vice president of student affairs when long-time Vice President of Student Affairs, Sam Sadler retired. In 2008, I became the Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Initiatives, and in 2010 I was named the university’s Inaugural Chief Diversity Officer. I have had multiple opportunities to serve the university in various leadership roles.
I attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina- a small, four-year, private, Presbyterian church-related institution. I received a BS in Sociology in 1990. When I graduated, I never knew anything about higher education as a career. My alma mater gave me my first professional job upon graduation as the Coordinator of Student Volunteer Services and Minority Affairs. That opportunity also made me the first administrator of color at Presbyterian.
After my first year working at Presbyterian, I knew that higher education was my “calling.” I began working on my Masters degree in Higher Education Administration part-time in South Carolina. When the job at W&M was announced, I left Presbyterian and re-enrolled in the Master’s program at W&M. I earned my Masters and Doctorate degrees in Higher Education Administration at William & Mary in 1999 and 2006, respectively.
Now, I have the fortunate opportunity to teach in the EPPL program each spring. I teach a course entitled, “Leadership in Cultural Competency for graduate students enrolled in the Counseling, K-12, Higher Education, and Gifted Education programs. It’s truly great to be in the classroom!
When not working, I enjoy watching sports – football, college basketball, and tennis are my favorites. I am an avid, loyal Pittsburgh Steelers fan! I also enjoy spending time with friends, going to the movies, community service, reading and travelling. I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; and The Links, Inc.; both of which are women’s organizations that focus on leadership and public service.
What have you learned from your different roles?
I’ve learned so much! I’ve learned collaboration, partnership, and most importantly, the value of relationships. In the different roles, I have had the opportunity to work closely with students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, and parents. Very few positions provide that breath and depth of interactions. All of the roles have helped me grow as a leader and get a fuller understanding of how the full university works. With D&I work, it is never best accomplished alone. We collaborate and partner on a regular basis because penultimate this work has university-wide span.
I have learned the value of each person’s voice being heard and represented at all tables. I always knew but it has been reinforced, that listening more than talking is crucial; that action without works is invalid; and I echo what author and poet Maya Angelou said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. We are all in this together!
How do you think you have been able to contribute to that?
I try to be authentic and genuine. I always tell people, no matter where you see me you should see Chon. What you see is what you get–WYSIWYG. I try to meet people where they are. I practice active listening because I think people sometimes talk much more than they listen. I would hope that through my words and actions, people see the way I do things, that it would promote that I truly care!
Every person I meet has something to teach me. Even the person I disagree with the absolute most has something to teach me. And because I think people cross our paths for various reasons, it becomes very crucial that I thrive always to be authentic.
You mentioned conversations and connections. What are the ones that have shaped you the most?
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet some incredible people who come to campus. Out of all the people I have met,the one that has had the most impact on my life is Myrlie Evers-Williams.She is the wife of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers.On June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers was assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith, Jr. in the driveway of his home in front of his wife and kids. When I had an opportunity to bring her to William & Mary as the speaker for our Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration, at the end of the program, we all joined hands and sang “We ShallOvercome.” As I was holding her hand and singing, I can’t even explain the feelings that I had. I was holding the hand of a wise, strong, resilient, African American woman who had literally held her dying husband as he took his last breath as her children watched. His life was taken because he was African American and courageously fought for me and others to have the right to vote and an equal chance at life.
We have to begin talking and stepping out of our comfort zones of connecting with only people who share known similarities. Once you take the time to talk and learn about a person, you may realized that you have more in common than you have as different.
What conversations have really made you think?
I think some of the most interesting conversations have been those where I disagree with a person. Sometimes I have to dig really deep and it’s hard because each one if us is strongly committed to our thoughts, and it may yield in agreeing to disagree, but engaging in a courageous conversation of civil discourse is one of the most important things that we can do to begin healing the ills of our society.
What are you grateful for?
Outside of life and the opportunity to continue life, I am most grateful for my faith, my family, and my education. My mom and dadwere married for three months, when my father drowned. My mom was a month pregnantwith me, so I never had the opportunity to know my father. My t mom moved back homewith my aunt and my grandmother. I was raised by three strong African American women. I’ve alwayshad that support and encouragement, but most importantly, role modeling and examples of resilience and perseverance.
In 2007, I lost my mother and two years ago I lost my aunt, and my maternal grandmother had died when I was 13. I am blessed to still have my father’s side of the family, but losing the members of my nuclear family has been tough and a real paradigm shift to a “new normal.”
I will be forever grateful for their time and presence in my life and what they taught me. I’m grateful for their struggles and the sacrifices they made to set me up for a blessed and productive life. By statistics, many would have said I wouldn’t succeed, but I did. My license plate reads “BLSDWM” and it means “blessed woman” because everyday I am truly thankful, grateful, and blessed. A mantra for me is to “Lift as I Climb.” I haven’t gotten to where I am alone, I have mentors, friends, and others who have guided me along the journey and I see it as my duty to pay it forward because to whom much is given, much is required.
I am very grateful for having completed my formal education. I am the only person in my family to earn a terminal degree.I’m grateful for my faith that sustains me through a lot of stuff and is what keeps me grounded. I have so much to be thankful for and I try to find at least one thing to record as gratitude each day because I don’t want to take anything for granted.
Where do you see us growing? What is the future? What would you like to see?
William & Mary has a rich history, but it hasn’t always been inclusive. My goal is to ensure that William & Mary is reflective of the diversity that exists in this world represented in our students, staff, and faculty. I want this to be a place that truly respects, values, and celebrates inclusion and what that means in being excellent.
I would like to see a well-integrated curriculum so that we are adequately preparing our students to be critical thinking leaders in a global world.
As for the future, I am excited and encouraged for W&M’s future with President Rowe at the helm of leadership. Her vibrant, thoughtful vision for innovation and inclusive makes me hopeful for
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
Diversity is the identification of all those things that are unique about a particular person, such as race/ethnicity, sex, political ideology, ability, faith, SES, and others.
Inclusion is the empowerment of all members of the community and whose worth is valued and respected and they feel ownership in the university.
An analogy is that diversity is being invited to the party and inclusion is being asked to dance.
In light of the 100 years of women, what would you say to the women out there?
I’m excited that William & Mary has taken the time to honor, commemorate, and celebrate two areas of history whose story has not been fully told—50thAnniversary of the first African American residential students and the 100thanniversary of co-education and the admission of the first women students. Much of history has yet to be written and I look forward to being a part of that discovery while creating new history.
We have to continue to be bold and keep up the momentum for change, inclusion, and innovation. President Rowe states “we change to preserve that which we value.” Let’s work hard to continue making William & Mary’s history and present inclusive of all voices!