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
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
“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
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
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