ASU names new Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Development


The Appalachian Online

Tommy Culkin

Appalachian State University recently appointed Leroy Wright as the new associate vice chancellor of student development, replacing Dino DiBernardi.

Wright received a bachelor’s degree in resource management from Ferris State University and received his master’s degree in counseling from Northern Arizona University.

Wright served as the dean of student life for 10 years at Ferris State, and served as an area coordinator at Dayton University

“As the [dean of student life], I had all areas of student life report to me,” Wright said. “I oversaw multicultural student services, resident housing, the center for student involvement, counseling, the rec center, student conduct and the center for leadership activities and career services.”

JJ Brown, the dean of students, said Wright established himself as an early favorite in the selection process.

“He showed that he clearly did research because he was very knowledgeable about our campus and our history, and he was so deeply engaging with everyone he interacted with in the interview process and while he was out and about,” Brown said. “That just speaks volumes to who he is, who he strives to be and why he’s the right fit for App.”

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Wright says he believes the most important role for student services is to help college students grow as individuals.

“When a student graduates from App State, they shouldn’t be the same person they were as a freshman,” Wright said. “They should have had an opportunity to grow, do service or become more informed about a specific profession or program.”

Wright said the position at Appalachian State was attractive to him because his responsibilities closely align with what he values most importantly.

One of his main responsibilities is to manage on-campus housing. Wright said that he worked in housing at both Northern Arizona and Ferris State and he said that he considers student housing to be the foundation of his philosophy to higher education.

Another of his responsibilities is to oversee Multicultural Student Development.

“As a person of color, I have an interest in increasing inclusion and diversity and social justice while caring for all my students,” Wright said.

To help improve diversity and inclusion, Wright said he is currently in the process of hiring a director and associate director for Multicultural Student Development.

Wright’s other responsibility as associate vice chancellor of student development is to oversee student groups and student leadership.

“I’m a big proponent of student engagement and service learning,” Wright said. “I heard from numerous students that there’s interest in having a community service event over spring break, so we’re looking into that for the future.”

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According to Cindy Wallace, DiBernardi left a strong legacy at Appalachian State, but she is completely confident that Wright will be able to continue that legacy.

“Dino had a deep understanding of what it means to create a rich campus life and he perfectly articulated how App State can allow a student to grow and develop,” Wallace said. “Leroy shares that vision, and he deeply cares about the students. He’s been around to various groups and campus, and talked to students and heard their concerns.”

Brown said that a lack of new faces can often lead to stagnation, so bringing in fresh perspectives is a good thing.

“I think Leroy is an incredibly deep thinker,” Brown said. “I really like his thoughts and ideas he brings to issues that we might not have seen before.”

Wright is looking forward to helping Appalachian State grow and getting to know the student body even more in the coming years.

“This isn’t just a five-year kind of job,” Wright said. “I’m looking to be here for a long time to help Appalachian grow and flourish. I have creative ideas, years of experience and a heart of compassion for students.”

Story by Tommy Culkin, Senior News Reporter