BEMIDJI -- Juan Armando Rojas was recently named the campus diversity officer at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College.

“It’s an honor to be the campus diversity officer for Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College,” Rojas said in a release. “As a bilingual, first-generation Latinx immigrant in academia, I believe that higher education should be committed to improving the lives of all its members. My work will help create and foster a thriving and inclusive climate and culture for all the university’s historically underserved and underrepresented students, staff, and faculty in partnership with other constituents across campuses. I will strive to be an innovator and change agent who will capture the hearts and minds of the university community and get everyone excited about the possibilities of this historical moment in our nation and on our campuses.”

Rojas joins BSU and NTC from Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, where he served as a professor of modern foreign languages and associate dean of diversity and inclusion before being named as chief diversity officer in 2018. In this role, Rojas oversaw the implementation of OWU's diversity, equity and inclusion policy and served as a resource for educational, facilities and human resources-related issues, the release said.

“We are fortunate to find someone with Dr. Rojas’s background and experience joining us in this crucial position,” President Faith Hensrud said in the release. “During this process, his strong background as a campus diversity officer, his Title IX experience and his involvement in and connections with national organizations related to campus diversity helped him stand apart from our other candidates. He is data-driven and focused on the well-being and success of students. I’m excited to welcome him into our community.”

At Bemidji State and NTC, Rojas succeeds Debra Peterson, professor of sociology and communication studies, who served in an interim role as the campus diversity officer from 2016 until June 2020 before returning to her position on the BSU faculty.

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Rojas earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso and his doctorate from the University of Arizona. He begins his new position on Nov. 9.