July 5, 2023
To Our URI Community,
I am happy to share that Michelle Fontes has been appointed assistant vice president for community, equity, and diversity, effective July 3.
Michelle has served in the interim role since May 2022, providing leadership, organizational development, and program management related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including direct oversight of the four student centers reporting to the Office of Community, Equity, and Diversity and in close collaboration with college-based assistant deans for diversity. Working with the deans and across departments, Michelle will continue to help develop and execute DEI-enhancing strategic initiatives and programming for URI undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and other stakeholders.
Michelle joined the University in 2007 as a specialist and then served as assistant director in the Alumni Relations office. In 2012, she transitioned to a coordinator in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences and, over the past decade, advanced to assistant director of student diversity initiatives and assistant dean.
Prior to joining URI, she worked in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, always gravitating toward mentorship and education.
A proud Rhody Ram, Michelle holds a B.A. in communications and an M.A. in adult education from URI. She is co-chair of the Bias Resource Team, leads the new DEI Training and Development Committee, and serves on the Alumni of Color and Women of Color Network.
Michelle has been a tremendous leader and colleague. I am confident that she will continue to build on the strengths of our CED office and I look forward to partnering with her on reaching the ambitious goals in our strategic plan. Please join me in congratulating Michelle on this new appointment.