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David Fryson named WVU senior advisor for diversity community outreach

David M. Fryson

David M. Fryson

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David M. Fryson, currently West Virginia University’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, will assume a new role as senior advisor to President Gordon Gee for diversity community outreach, as part of a phased retirement.

Fryson joined WVU in 2010 as deputy general counsel before being named its first chief diversity officer in 2012 and then vice president two years later. He will assume his new duties Jan. 1.

“I’m eager to be able to get away from the crush of day-to-day administration so I can devote more attention to community outreach,” Fryson said. “I will have the opportunity to spend time in the recruitment of students, faculty and staff as well as to assist with the increasingly diverse alumni base.

“I also look forward to having the opportunity to represent West Virginia University throughout the state and nation by advocating for diversity and inclusion through speaking and writing opportunities. My reduced schedule will also give me the opportunity to thoughtfully address some of the important societal issues we face today,” he said.

Fryson has spent his life dealing with the issues of diversity. In 2001, he served a term as the national vice president for the Rev. Dr. Leon Sullivan's Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America, establishing a national office in Washington D.C. In addition, he has been involved with the statewide NAACP, the Charleston Job Corps Centers and has been a strong supporter of diversity festivals and events throughout the state.

“David has quietly helped West Virginia University during a tumultuous time in society,” Gee said. “He has done this through scholarship, thoughtful dialogue and listening to all segments of society. Sometimes he is out front; sometimes he is behind the scenes. And this University is a better place because of David’s contributions.

“I expect that to continue in this new role, which will allow him to work on behalf of the University and the state to keep moving West Virginia forward,” Gee said.

Fryson, 63, is a native of Dunbar/Institute and received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from West Virginia State University. He also received a Juris Doctor degree from West Virginia University.

Prior to his career at WVU, Fryson practiced law for more than 20 years in a variety of legal and advocacy settings, including as counsel on successful and historic civil rights cases and other major litigation, culminating in being named a fellow of the West Virginia Bar Association Foundation in 2014. In addition to private practice, he served as city attorney for two West Virginia municipalities and also as a staff attorney for the chief bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland. Before becoming an attorney, Fryson served on the Governor's Economic Development staff for two West Virginia governors.

Fryson has been a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission since 2013 and was keynote speaker at the holiday’s ecumenical service in Charleston this year. He is a frequent contributor to various publications and conferences on the issues of African-American political issues.

Fryson is also an ordained pastor and has served as an elder and pastor for more than 30 years. In addition to his ministry in West Virginia, he served as the chief ministry officer for the House of the Lord, a progressive, diverse church with a membership at that time of more than 6,000 in Akron, Ohio, overseeing more than 30 ministries of the church, nine pastors and more than 300 ministers, deacons and church leaders who served the congregation.

Fryson will be headquartered in Charleston. A plan for identifying his successor will be announced later.



CONTACT: John A. Bolt; University Relations/Communications

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