Shakeer Abdullah, Elizabeth Ortiz, and Clyde Wilson Pickett have been selected as finalists for the Minnesota State Chief Diversity Officer position.

Open forums took place on Monday, August 14, with feedback and deliberations to follow. 


Photo of Shakeer Abdullah
Shakeer Abdullah

Shakeer Abdullah is the assistant vice president in the University of Minnesota Office for Equity and Diversity (OED). In addition to overseeing efforts relating to the development and implementation of the university’s diversity vision framework, Abdullah provides leadership and oversight for the planning and designing of programs, services, and initiatives that support student access and success, and works to meet the needs of various internal and external communities. He participates in long-term planning, policy, and strategy development to move the university’s equity and diversity agenda forward. Other duties include fundraising, acting as a liaison to the university’s Global Programs and Services Office and to the Corporate Foundations Relations team, and supervising three campus centers: the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life, the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence, and the Women’s Center. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University (OH), a master’s from Ohio State University, and a doctorate from Auburn University (AL). Click here to view the curriculum vitae of Shakeer Abdullah.


Photo of Elizabeth Ortiz

Elizabeth Ortiz

As vice president of institutional diversity and equity at DePaul University, Elizabeth Ortiz advises the president and members of the executive team on many facets of university life including diversity strategy, student retention, university benefits, faculty and staff salary equity studies, transgender accommodations, college affordability, budget prioritization, and university crisis responses. Instrumental in helping to craft the university’s diversity goals and action plan, Ortiz created the President’s Diversity Council which advises on diversity issues, solutions, and initiatives. Ortiz developed university policies to include the faculty search process, the Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy, and updated human resources and faculty hiring policies. The coordinator of DePaul’s annual Affirmative Action Plan, Ortiz recently was given responsibility for Title IX coordination and investigations. Ortiz holds a bachelor’s degree from Calumet College of St. Joseph (IN), and a master’s and a doctorate from Northern Illinois University. Click here to view the curriculum vitae of Elizabeth Ortiz. 


Photo of Clyde Wilson Pickett

Clyde Wilson Pickett

In his current role as special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion (chief diversity officer) at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), Clyde Wilson Pickett is the primary advisor to the president and directs all campus diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, policies, programs, and processes. Responsible for developing and implementing a system-wide Diversity Tactical Plan, Pickett provides management and oversight of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion with responsibilities that include strategic planning, budget management, recruiting and retention initiatives, and supervision of professional staff. He serves as a college-wide liaison in cultivating community and government partnerships and has implemented workshops, program and learning modules, and other strategies to promote diversity, educational access, leadership development, and cultural competency. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, a master’s from Morehead State University (KY), and a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. Click here to view the curriculum vitae of Clyde Wilson Pickett.