Vice President for Equity & Strategic Initiatives Dereck Rovaris Sr. to Retire

Submitted by Chuck Steenburgh on March 28, 2024 - 2:41 pm
March 28, 2024
By Chuck Steenburgh

St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan announced today the retirement, effective May 31, of Vice President for Equity & Strategic Initiatives Dereck J. Rovaris Sr. Rovaris steps down after a 42-year career in higher education, the last two at the National Public Honors College.

“Dr. Rovaris solidified our strategic initiatives toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) during a time when such efforts are under an unprecedented level of attack across the United States and in higher education in particular,” said Jordan. “His experience and leadership have left their mark through several key staff hires and the strengthening of the College’s signature programs focused on ensuring equity and access.”

“I have had a full career that included four very different institutions, thousands of students and colleagues, visits to hundreds of institutions around the country and even overseas, and I can honestly say it has been an incredible ride,” said Rovaris. “I am really proud of the way we helped focus the campus on issues of inclusion and equity, and brought folks to a deeper understanding of and appreciation for our differences.”

Rovaris also cited the opportunity to work one-on-one with a large number of faculty, staff and students to help them succeed as being a highlight of his time at SMCM. He noted enhancements to equity programming with an expanded variety of speakers and activities.
Rovaris earned his Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Xavier University of Louisiana, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas with a triple major in Psychology; Human Development and Family Life; and Crime and Delinquency Studies. Prior to his tenure with SMCM, he served as vice president for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and chief diversity officer at Louisiana State University; associate vice chancellor for academic and multicultural affairs at the University of Louisiana Health and Sciences Center; and 25 years of service at Xavier University in a variety of roles.

A national search is planned to take place during the summer and fall to select Rovaris’ replacement.


February 7, 2023
February 21, 2022
August 19, 2021