John McKnight Jr. named dean of institutional equity and inclusion

John F. McKnight Jr.
John F. McKnight Jr.

John F. McKnight Jr., currently dean of intercultural development at Lafayette College, has been named dean of institutional equity and inclusion at Connecticut College. The appointment is effective July 1.

At Connecticut College, McKnight will be responsible for the overall vision and leadership of the work of equity and inclusion, and will collaborate with leaders across campus to fulfill the College’s commitment to full participation. Specifically, he will oversee the offices of the associate dean of equity and inclusion, religious and spiritual life, the Women’s Center, Unity House, the LGBTQ Resource Center and the Title IX coordinator.

“John joins us as we conclude an important year of dialogue on our campus aimed at fostering a learning environment of tolerance and mutual respect, said President Katherine Bergeron in a letter to the campus community. “With his extensive experience and record of success, John is uniquely qualified to lead our community forward in an important time of change.”

Over the past 10 years, McKnight has enjoyed a series of increasingly responsible administrative positions, first at Lehigh University and later, at Lafayette College, where he designed and implemented successful initiatives to foster inclusive campus communities. Of particular note are the programs in intercultural competency and in social justice peer education that he established at Lafayette, both of which have had a significant impact on the campus culture.

As dean at Lafayette since 2011, McKnight has been responsible for managing five areas within the campus life division, including student leadership and involvement, religious and spiritual life, gender and sexuality programs, international student advising, and intercultural development. He designed and implemented an annual social justice ally development retreat for students and, as coordinator of the bias-response team, co-led the “Civility Project,” a proactive approach to bias education.

A natural collaborator, McKnight has worked closely with faculty, staff, and students across the divisions to advance programming, advocacy for underrepresented populations, and community building. He also transformed Lafayette’s multicultural recruitment efforts in partnership with the enrollment management division, leading to positive outcomes. He was twice named the Aaron O. Hoff Administrator of the Year, and also received an Excellence in Mentorship Award at Lafayette, in recognition of these efforts.

McKnight holds a doctorate in education, administration, and leadership studies from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a master of science in higher education administration from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a bachelor of science from the University of Florida. 

April 19, 2016