The Office of Institutional Equity is led by Vice President Lee Gill, J.D., who has a proven track record for developing high-impact DEI programs in higher education. A renowned leader with more than 25 years of experience in the diversity field, Gill is credited with building a sustainable infrastructure in higher education that incorporated diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts into the campus culture and with creating programs that support and address the challenges facing women, Black and Hispanic students, and the LGBTQ community. He created the Clemson University Men of Color National Summit, which brings together more than 2,000 students, educators, business professionals, government officials and community leaders from around the country to explore issues and share best practices to increase high school and college graduation rates. Gill is leading the mission to establish inclusive excellence at the University of Louisville.
Learn more about Lee A. Gill, J.D., Vice President for Institutional Equity
Marian R. Vasser, PhD candidate, Assistant Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Belonging
Marian serves in the capacity of Assistant Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Belonging at the University of Louisville, where she leads university DEIB educational opportunities. Her leadership purview includes high level oversight of the Cultural and Equity Center. Hired in 1993, Marian’s diverse tenure working in Human Resources, Physical Plant, Controller’s Office, Student Affairs – Career Center, Athletics – Football, Brown Cancer Center, A&S Dean’s Office, Provost Office, and the President’s Office contributes to her well-rounded knowledge, advocacy, and strong relationships across the university and greater community. She has served on many UofL committees including, but not limited to, ATHENA; CODRE; COSW; Faculty Affairs – Leadership, Equity and Diversity; Inclusion and Equity Council; Staff Senate; Sustainability Council Planning & Administration Committee; and university-wide Strategic Planning.
With approximately eighteen years of experience as a Culture, Equity, and Belonging Practitioner, Marian is committed to fostering environments that truly align with our Cardinal Principles, with a specific focus on equity and belonging. In addition to conducting numerous campus-wide workshops and facilitated dialogues annually, she has also presented at numerous local and national conferences. Marian created a social justice youth summer camp and the Interns for R.E.A.L. (Resistance, Education, Advocacy and Leadership) Change, which aim to cultivate social justice leadership skills in youth K-12 and college students respectively.
- 2023 UC Berkeley Bridging Differences in Higher Education Learning fellow
- 2022 College Personnel of Kentucky (CPAK) Hall of Fame induction
- 2021 University of Louisville Student Government Association Presidential Award
- 2020 Today’s Woman - Educator of the Year nomination
- 2019 UofL Presidential Multicultural Engagement award
- 2019 Adult Black Achiever recognition
- 2019, PBS recruited and filmed Marian to be featured in a pending documentary for PBS Frontline regarding school integration efforts in the U.S., looking back at Brown v. Board of Education and the current state of schools in the U.S
- 2019 acceptance in an intensive Harvard University Institute for Leaders in Higher Education
As a Louisville native, Marian remains active in the community and has served on several boards including Evolve 502, numerous JCPS district-wide committees and more. In addition to conducting workshops through JCPS and school districts across the region, she has also consulted and provided educational opportunities for over 30 diverse external partners (e.g., collegiate, corporate, faith-based, government, K-12, etc.) to build more inclusive and equitable learning and work environments.
Marian obtained a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a masters in Higher Education Administration while working multiple jobs and single parenting. Marian is currently a doctoral candidate conducting research on the impact of the COVID era on white activism in Louisville Kentucky, with a specific focus on the Breonna Taylor movement.
Marian is the proud mom of three handsome, intelligent, and talented Kings. A fun fact about Marian is that she has a peculiar fondness for serving on jury duty.
Diane Whitlock, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives
Diane Whitlock is a native of Louisville, KY and a long-time employee of the University of Louisville. In her role as Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives to the Vice President for Diversity and Equity, Diane is a member of the Diversity Administrative Leadership Team and ensures the operational efficiency and effectiveness within the Office of Diversity and Equity and its Division, serving as the second in command within the office. She provides strategic counsel to the Vice President for Diversity and Equity and the Diversity Division and works behind the scenes to solve problems and address pertinent issues, acting as a sounding board, advisor, and confidant, as needed. The Chief of Staff leads high-impact, highly visibility projects and initiatives for the Office of Diversity and Equity, leading efforts and working with academic and administrative units to develop and achieve the goals of the university’s diversity plan.
Whitlock earned a bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership and Learning and a master’s in Higher Education Administration from the UofL College of Education and Human Development, and serves or has served on various committees on and off-campus. Some examples of her committee work include the university's 2019 Great Place to Work strategic planning committee, and serving of the board of directors for the Business Diversity Network of Kentucky, the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA, and the University Club Board of Directors. She has also served on the UofL Outstanding Community Engagement Award selection committee, Outstanding Performance Awards selection committee, and is a past President of the UofL Black Faculty/Staff Association (2008-2012). She is one of the 2016 recipients of the UofL President’s Outstanding Performance Awards, and other awards include the UofL LGBT Center Ally Award (2016), UofL Outstanding Community Service Staff Award (2011), the 2008 Eleanor Young Love Award presented by the Louisville Commission on Human Rights, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Accomplice Award (2021).
Daquarius Mahone, M.Ed., Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Institutional Equity
Daquarius Mahone, M.Ed. serves as the Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Institutional Equity overseeing the day to day operations of the Office of the Vice President and provides oversight of the VPIE’s calendar. Daquarius provides strategic counsel and support to the VPIE and the division. He serves as a strategic partner and trusted advisor to high priority programs, initiatives, and issues to advance the mission and vision of the unit and the university.
Daquarius is from Hopkinsville, KY. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication and Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services with a concentration in College Student Personnel (CSP) from UofL College of Education and Human Development. Daquarius currently is pursing his Ph.D. in College Student Personnel. He has served on several local community boards such as Project Restoring Our Communities (ROC). He has also served as an advisor to several recognized student organization (NAACP and Saving Our Students) and currently serves on the Inclusion and Equity council.
Daquarius is the proud husband of Jamila and father to Langston Ahmad. In his spare time, he loves spending time with family and cooking.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
Ashley O'Neil, Director of Planning and Assessment
Ashley O’Neil serves as the Director of Planning and Assessment in the Vice President Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion overseeing and coordinating the planning, assessment and research activities with the DEI division. Within this role Ashley looks forward to working collaboratively with University Partners to support a culture of excellence by utilizing effective assessment practices. Ms. O’Neil completed her Master’s in Public Health Sciences (Specialization in Biostatistics) in 2017 and her Bachelor’s in Exercise Science in 2015 from the University of Louisville.
Prior to her current position, Ms. O’Neil was Coordinator for Quality Assurance at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, overseeing all QA data analysis, patient concern cases, and risk management resolutions. She also co-facilitated the Culturally Effective Care Program.
She also served as Program Coordinator for the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion, overseeing programs related to health equity and diversity in healthcare. In this role, she was responsible for student development and recruitment, curricular development, and community engagement initiatives that spanned across academic programs and health science disciplines.
She strives to continue to uphold the vision of the office by promoting an environment of inclusiveness through the understanding and celebration of diversity! Aside from work, she enjoys traveling, food, spending time with friends and being a new mom!
James Orlick, Director of Grant Writing and Innovation for DEI Initiatives
As Director of Grant Writing and Innovation for DEI, James serves as a key member of the Vice President's leadership team and ensures alignment with the University's strategic plan as an R1 university committed to DEI. James oversees the delivery of high-quality grant writing for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and across the University for proposals relating to DEI and institutional change. In this position, he will innovate and increase the DEI grant activity and DEI philanthropic gifts from corporations, foundations, and state government agencies, building strong strategic grant proposal collaborations across the University and aligning them with the University's strategic agenda.
James has raised millions in corporate, foundation, and government grants for projects in higher education that focus on institutional change, inclusive excellence, curriculum development, and support for underrepresented students through mentoring, program support, college readiness, and scholarship support.
Previously serving as the Director of Corporate and Foundations Relations at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, James developed corporate and foundation strategic partnerships and secured significant grant funding focusing on technology and classroom upgrades, diversity scholarships, mentoring support, and international studies for students from underrepresented populations.
Before W&J College, James served as the first Director of Foundation Relations and grant writer for Inclusion and Equity at Clemson University. James provided foundation and grant writing support for Inclusion and Equity projects across seven colleges, focusing on large institutional change grants. At Clemson, James developed proposals and cultivated foundations for seven-figure grant awards focusing on building equitable pathways to college. Clemson is an R1, land-grant University at Clemson, S.C. Before Clemson University, James spent more than thirteen years as a professor in technology and grant writer in New York City, South Carolina (HBCU), and lectured in the Philippines.
James holds a Master of Legal Studies, Intellectual Property Law (ASU- Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law), Master of Arts (New York University-Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development), Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (Concord University), Certificate in Grant Writing (University of South Carolina), and a Certificate from the Grant Training Center in Professional Grant Development in Arlington, Virginia.
Diandre Glover Thomas, MA, Director of Projects and Communication
Diandre Glover Thomas serves as the Director of Projects and Communication in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion overseeing marketing and communication initiatives, event planning, and project management for DEI within the University. Diandre works collaboratively with University and external partners to promote diversity and support a culture of inclusive excellence at the University of Louisville.
Ms. Thomas is a marketing and communication professional with over 25 years of experience working in the higher education and non-profit sectors. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Louisville. She began her career as a communication coordinator for Senior Services Inc., a small non-profit organization. Here, she was responsible for creating promotional content and newsletters for the organization’s local nutrition program that supplied meals to elderly low-income adults with limited mobility in Louisville. For the following twelve years, Ms. Thomas was the traffic manager for Louisville Public Media. This included managing the schedule for underwriting announcements and programming for three radio stations, WUOL-FM, WFPK-FM, and National Public Radio affiliate station WFPL-FM. In this role, she also collaborated with the marketing and development teams to promote marketing campaigns and fundraising events.
Ms. Thomas went on to serve eight years as a senior program coordinator at the Kentucky Autism Training Center, an agency based out of the University of Louisville with a legislative mandate to improve outcomes for all Kentucky residents with autism spectrum disorder. In this role, she planned statewide professional development training events and regional workshops for professionals and parents, developed marketing collateral, managed the website, developed and administered online courses, coordinated the webinar training program, and was the editor of KATC's newsletter, Insight on Autism.
For over four years prior to joining the University of Louisville's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, Ms. Thomas was the Director of School Communication and Marketing at Kent School of Social Work and Family Science. She was instrumental in developing the Kent School's marketing plan to build awareness of the college's five academic programs, events, and research projects on a local, regional, and national scale. Ms. Thomas successfully promoted the college through a comprehensive internal and external communication plan that included diversified forms of media like advertisements, marketing collateral, newsletters, digital monitor ads, social media posts, website, and video content that advanced the college's reach. She also managed the marketing budget for the college and served on the University brand council on behalf of the college.
Ms. Thomas has two children. Her daughter graduated from the University of Louisville in 2021, and her son is currently in high school. In her spare time, she enjoys writing children’s stories and has written and published five children’s books.