Stella Silva, Ph.D.
Stella Silva, Ph.D.

St. Mary’s University today announced that Stella Silva, Ph.D., will serve as the University’s Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence.

“Inclusive excellence builds on the ideas of diversity, equity and inclusion and underscores an essential element of our Catholic and Marianist identity and mission,” said President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D. “I look forward to working with Stella to advance excellence at St. Mary’s University and our Catholic and Marianist identity.”

Silva will succeed Sheri King, Ph.D., who officially retired on May 31, 2023, from St. Mary’s University after serving in the University’s inaugural leadership role for diversity, equity and inclusion. Silva starts at St. Mary’s on Aug. 7, 2023.

Silva, a San Antonio native, has spent 27 years in higher education in teaching and administrative roles that have prepared her for leading St. Mary’s diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) initiatives. She began her career working with students at the University of Texas at San Antonio in minority student affairs and at Palo Alto College advising transfer students. In 1997, Silva transitioned to Texas State University as the Assistant Director of Minority Student Affairs, a position created to establish the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. After nearly 22 years in student affairs, she led diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including as Associate Director for Student Diversity and Inclusion.

The Texas State president appointed her in 2020 to serve dual roles — the inaugural Assistant Vice President for Inclusive Excellence for Faculty and Staff Initiatives and Interim Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). Silva was the first CDO to serve on the university’s leadership cabinet. She successfully spearheaded numerous programs advancing DEIA for students and employees. Her work with students included establishing a Monarch Center for Immigrant Students, a network of DEIA representatives and a community council for Hispanic-serving initiatives.

However, her work with employees led to her next position in Texas State’s Office of Human Resources as the Assistant Vice President for Talent Strategy and Engagement. That work at Texas State with faculty and staff included developing a diversity certification program, an institutional civility policy and best practices for inclusive hiring. She was also responsible for serving as the university’s ombudsperson for staff.

“Inclusive excellence builds on the ideas of diversity, equity and inclusion and underscores an essential element of our Catholic and Marianist identity and mission.”

President Thomas M. Mengler

Silva received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts at UTSA.

Silva has served as an adviser and mentor for students, student organizations, employees and workplace affinity groups. She has experience in producing and presenting DEIA training and presentations. Silva is active in DEIA-related organizations, such as the Texas and national associations for higher education diversity officers, Ombuds Association, Hispanic Policy Network and Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education.

Texas State has honored Silva with several awards — Mary Lou Bishop Staff Advisor of the Year (2015), Excellence in Diversity (2014), Student Affairs Champion of Success (2008) and Mariel M. Muir Excellence in Mentoring (2006).

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