Diversity interns hear from Jay Golden at breakfast  


Morgan Anderson

Wichita State’s new president Jay Golden eats breakfast on Tuesday at Shocker Hall with community stakeholders, including a group of Diversity Interns and Bobby Gandu, assistant vice president and director of undergraduate admissions. Golden was named the 14th president of WSU in October.

Jay Golden, Wichita State’s president-elect, discussed diversity with a group of campus stakeholders over breakfast. 

As part of his visit to campus Tuesday, Golden met with a group of diversity interns from WSU’s Office of Admissions at Shocker Dining Hall. Also in attendance was Bobby Gandu, assistant vice president and director of admissions. 

“I want to create a safe, inclusive and diverse environment where people graduate on time with no debt,” Golden told the interns. 

The Kansas Board of Regents named Golden the 14th president of WSU in October, capping a closed search process that began after late President John Bardo died this spring. Golden, a vice chancellor at East Carolina University, will officially take over as president in January — when he will move to Wichita with his wife, Dina. 

It is unclear if Golden will make any other public appearances this week during his visit. 

Golden said he held the breakfast as a chance to meet the interns and get to know them. He asked each intern why they chose WSU and how they became diversity interns. 

“I experienced culture shock the first week [at Wichita State],”said Neiman Thompson, a  sophomore diversity intern. “It was hard to find the diversity [in] the brochures on campus.”

Thompson said that culture shock led him to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Multicultural Greek Council, which ultimately encouraged him to apply to be a diversity intern. 

Golden also asked how he could make programs more impactful for students, how to get faculty more involved in diversity and how to make the WSU experience better for diverse populations.  

“There is no fence around this university,” he said. “I want to bring staff and students out into the community to truly be there to help them.”

Golden said he hopes to improve applied-learning opportunities for diverse populations and bring more diverse artwork on campus. 

One intern said that a student had been working to bring more Latinx-inspired artwork to campus. Golden handed them his business card and said to have that student contact him for help. 

“He’s not a Bardo,” said diversity intern Tajahnae Stocker, who also works as a columnist for The Sunflower. “He’s a lot more student-oriented, student-focused, [and] student-driven.

“I think the fact that he has ideas and plans already, I think right now — being so intentional and meeting with us — I think he will follow through.”

Golden has previously expressed a dedication to improving diversity on campus, including through his plans to develop a diversity leadership fellowship.

“In its basic form, [diversity] is bringing leaders that are diverse by race, ethnicity, [and] backgrounds onto campus to talk about their real-life experiences and the hurdles that they faced,” Golden said during an interview with the Sunflower on Nov. 1. 

A 20-person search committee, which included two students, was selected in May to find a pool of finalists for the next president. KBOR selected Golden from that pool. 

The search committee has not released the number of finalists, but Chairman Steve Clark told The Sunflower that at least one person of color and no women were among them. All of WSU’s presidents have been white men.