Leah Cox, PhD
Dr. Leah Cox currently serves as the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In this capacity, she provides the leadership and vision for creating a more inclusive campus for students, faculty, and staff and works collaboratively with all members of the campus and surrounding community. Before joining Carolina, she served as the inaugural Vice President for Inclusion and Institutional Equity at Towson University. She also served as the Special Assistant to the President and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia and spent many years working at Gallaudet University leading the university’s first minority student affairs office.
She is a recognized leader and popular keynote speaker who has created innovative programs and initiatives led policy development and strategic planning efforts and has designed and led a variety of student success and DEI training programs. Her work has directly influenced recruitment and retention endeavors for academic institutions and businesses. With more than 30 years of experience working in higher education, business, healthcare and community organizations she is recognized for promoting and creating diverse, equitable and inclusive organizations. Her areas of specialization include personnel development, recruitment, retention, disability awareness, cultural competency, student success and higher education leadership. She is a skilled trainer, mediator and certified coach who facilitates dialogue surrounding difficult issues and supports conflict resolution efforts.
Leah Cox obtained her PhD in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland, College Park; a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Arizona; and a Bachelor’s degree from Western Maryland College in Art/teacher education.
Get to know Leah
Name your favorite podcasts.
Crime Junkie, Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History and Mo Rocca’s Mobituaries
Best Perk of the Job?
I love learning from and engaging with students, faculty and staff. Higher education affords me the opportunity to meet a lot of people whose interests and backgrounds are different from mine, and I get to learn from all of them. It’s energizing.
In an alternate universe, what would you do for a living?
As an avid sports fan, I would be working in the sports industry (MLB, NFL or the NBA), promoting diversity and inclusion efforts.
Name three things that people would be most surprised to learn about you.
- I have interpreted for three individuals who were or have become President of the United States.
- I worked as a seamstress for a summer on Nantucket Island
- I had lunch and a tour of the Capitol with U.S. Congressman John Lewis
What’s on your bucket list?
To travel across the country in a luxury RV.
Whom do you admire…and why?
I admire those who recognize their own gifts and then use them to create change. Those who are unafraid of speaking up, speaking out and speaking truth.