LMC names Major Cooper as dean, diversity, equity, inclusion

BENTON HARBOR — Major Cooper has been named the first dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Lake Michigan College.

Cooper will be responsible for creating and implementing a five-year diversity, equity and inclusion plan in this new grant-funded position. He will oversee programs, initiatives, and activities to help marginalized and underrepresented students succeed at LMC and help recruit, support, and advance diverse faculty, staff and students.

“I’m very excited to be a part of Lake Michigan College and to be a part of this community,” Cooper said. “I believe everyone has a desire to do great work when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, so my goal is to be that bridge builder to help achieve that. I’m looking forward to walking the halls as we get back to larger on-campus capacity, shaking hands and meeting our students, faculty, and staff.”

Cooper brings 16 years of higher education and DEI experience to LMC. Most recently, he served as assistant director of social change and leadership at the University of Cincinnati. Other former positions include assistant director of recruitment and admissions at University of Wisconsin Green Bay; assistant director on intercultural engagement for African American student services at Marquette University; student services specialist at Milwaukee Area Technical College; director of recruitment at ITT Technical Institute; associate director of graduate admission at Cardinal Stritch University; coordinator of distance learning and transfer services at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College; associate director of admissions at Ivy Tech Community College, and admissions counselor at Kentucky State University.

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Cooper said his career focus turned to DEI-related issues while working at Ivy Tech in Elkhart and South Bend during the Great Recession.

“A lot of time when we think about diversity, equity and inclusion, the focus is on race, but at that time, what I was looking at was ageism,” Cooper said. “I was in an RV industry town where we suddenly had over 2,000 displaced workers looking for a career change that offered more stability. Seeing how I could incorporate these non-traditional students in classes with traditional students and how they could both learn from each other became the catalyst for me to focus on DEI work.”

Cooper came to LMC not only because of the position itself but because of his familiarity with the region and the fact that he had previously worked under LMC President Dr. Trevor Kubatzke during their shared tenure at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

“I think it is important to acknowledge that there are always opportunities for us to learn how to best serve our community, our students and our employees,” Kubatzke said. “This position presents us with another opportunity for LMC to help break down barriers, create allies, and build upon our strong community partnerships. Major is passionate about being an agent for change so that we can be better as a college, as community partners and as individuals.”

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