McClymond speaks on value of DEI to the regional economy

The business intelligence firm Capital Analytics launched its 2023 Focus Atlanta report September 7 with a series of panel discussions on issues impacting the region’s economy. Interim President Kathryn McClymond represented Oglethorpe and higher education on the panel titled “Why Diversity, Equity & Inclusion have become and will remain essential factors in the modern economy.”

“Oglethorpe University is 60 percent students of color, 40 percent first generation students, 40 percent of our students are Pell eligible, 10 percent of our students are undocumented, and we are very proud of the diversity that those statistics represent,” McClymond said. “That doesn’t happen by accident.”

Interim President Kathryn McClymond (center) with alumni, friends and staff at the Focus Atlanta event.

From left, Toby Sidman and her husband, Emeritus Trustee Arnie Sidman; Interim President Kathryn McClymond; Trustee Lauren Warner ’02; staff members Kate Bobb and Lance Wallace; and Trustee Chad Smith ’13. All attended the September 7 Focus Atlanta report launch event, which featured a panel on diversity, equity and inclusion with Dr. McClymond serving as a panelist.

She said there were three activities Oglethorpe engages in that leads to having a diverse student body: invitation, access and investment in launch preparation.

“We want a diverse class,” she said. “We want a diverse experience for all of our students. It is the best learning environment for everyone sitting in a classroom… It creates experience among the students on how to work effectively with a diverse team. That is only going to improve Atlanta’s social and economic climate.”

Moderated by Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett, the panel also featured Michael J. Baptist, vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and Kim Rousseau, principal and corporate interiors firmwide practice chair for the Atlanta office of Perkins & Will, a global design firm and the second largest architecture firm in the U.S.

“Education is the great equalizer,” McClymond said. “It can provide access for people who would not have access to opportunity any other way. It doesn’t just benefit individuals, it benefits Atlanta.”

Oglethorpe is featured in the Focus Atlanta report, which will be distributed this month. Learn more at the Capital Analytics website.

“We’re educating the workers who will build Atlanta’s future, and that’s why diversity, equity and inclusion is a commitment for us at Oglethorpe,” McClymond said.

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