Release Date: March 6, 2018
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo School of Law has named Kendra N. Cadogan as its inaugural director of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Cadogan had been an academic advisor and coordinator for the Daniel V. Acker Scholars Program, where she developed an intensive orientation program to acclimate students from diverse and underrepresented communities to UB’s three campuses.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education, both from UB. Before joining the UB staff, she worked as a resident director at SUNY Brockport.
“Kendra will be working with community partners, university departments and with law administration, faculty and students to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our community,” says Aviva Abramovsky, dean of the School of Law. “She will also work to continue UB Law’s award-winning Discover Law program.”
Bernadette Gargano, vice dean for student affairs in the law school, who will work closely with Cadogan, notes Cadogan’s new position will touch students across the spectrum.
“We want to continue to focus on our pipeline-to-law-school programs in order to increase diversity in the profession as a whole, to increase diversity within our own communities, including first-generation college and students of color,” Gargano says. “And to make sure we keep inclusion and equity as a main focus throughout the school.”
Cadogan defines diversity as “the entire range of human difference — from race and socioeconomic status to gender, nationality, age, gender identity, religion and sexual orientation.”
“Law schools benefit from having a wide range of diversity among faculty, students and staff because the diversity of the larger society is reflected, and when students go out into the world, they’re better prepared to practice and to effect change,” she says.
“Equity refers to treating people fairly across differences so that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. And inclusion is about making a deliberate effort to ensure that differences aren’t just tolerated, but actively included and welcomed.
“It’s about creating an environment where everyone feels respected.”
Cadogan notes the law school “is definitely on the right track” in its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. “During my interview process, one thing that I really appreciated was how many faculty members, staff members and students came to the interview and wanted to ask questions and be involved,” she says. “It was clear that this is a school that is committed to looking at any areas in which more work can be done and then bringing resources to bear on those areas.
“People are very collaborative here, and I’ve had so many people reach out to me.”
Cadogan’s responsibilities include the Discover Law program, the law school’s award-winning initiative to attract underrepresented minority students to the legal profession. The program this year received a President’s Circle grant from UB, she says, and individual donors and big firms are also making contributions that will allow the program to continue.
“It’s so important to the School of Law because it’s indicative of our commitment to increasing the number of underrepresented people in the profession, period,” she says. “That’s why people are so passionate about it.”