María Pabón named to Notable Leaders in Higher Education list
Twin Cities Business magazine has named St. Olaf College Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón to its 2021 list of Notable Leaders in Higher Education.
Pabón came to St. Olaf in 2019 to serve as the inaugural director of the Glenn and Myretta Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion. President David R. Anderson ’74 appointed her as the college’s vice president for equity and inclusion in June 2021.
“Pabón Gautier’s strength as a leader is understanding that to succeed academically and socially, marginalized students need a sense of belonging and connectedness on campus,” Twin Cities Business magazine notes in its profile. “Under her leadership, the Taylor Center has developed programming that supports LGBTQ+, first-generation, and international students.”
As vice president for equity and inclusion, Pabón has co-led the launch of the Co-Creating an Inclusive Community initiative with Vice President for Mission Jo Beld. This 18-month project brings students, faculty, staff, and leadership together to work on creating a place where everyone, regardless of identity, can find a sense of belonging, connectedness, and agency in the St. Olaf community. Pabón also leads the college’s Bias Response Team and chairs the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She keeps students, faculty, and staff informed about this work through a series of Equity and Inclusion Updates that she shares regularly with the St. Olaf community.
Pabón earned her Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota and her B.S. at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Her teaching and scholarship have focused in areas of ethnic identity, microaggressions, anti-bias education, social justice, and issues of diversity and equity. She has served on the faculties of St. Catherine University and the University of Minnesota, and in the nonprofit field. Originally from Puerto Rico, Pabón is passionate about integrating her cultural background, identity, and traditions into everything she does.
Twin Cities Business magazine notes that it profiles exceptional higher education leaders because they play a critical role in training and preparing a talented workforce. “Minnesota boasts an incredible network of colleges and universities staffed by leaders who pour themselves into lifting up the next generation. In 2020, educators persevered and found ways to support students even when campuses shut down due to Covid, forcing everyone remote,” the magazine notes. “For quickly adapting, learning new technologies, and always prioritizing the students, our 2021 Notable Leaders in Higher Education deserve a round of applause.”