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Former councilwoman Diaz named UW-Eau Claire vice chancellor

Former Escondido councilwoman Olga Diaz will be moving to Wisconsin to become vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and student affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Former Escondido city councilmember Olga Diaz has been named the next vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and student affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Diaz has been director of student success and equity at Palomar College since 2015. She will begin work at UW-Eau Claire on June 14.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me and a big change,” Diaz told The Times-Advocate.

“I will be leaving my current position at Palomar in early May to transition to Wisconsin.  I begin my new job on June 14th,” Diaz said.  “Part of my new role includes helping with strategies to recruit and retain diverse students, faculty and staff.  I will also be overseeing programs and departments that focus on student support, research, student government, counseling, multicultural affairs, gender and sexuality resources and the new center for racial and restorative justice.  This is work I have a passion for and am excited to contribute to.”

She added, “My husband Neal and son Eli will stay in Escondido until Eli finishes high school at San Pasqual. For the next two years, I will visit Escondido often and they will visit me in Wisconsin too.  We can make it work.  Especially now that we’ve all gotten so great at Zoom.”  

“I am excited to welcome Olga to our leadership team at UW-Eau Claire,” says Chancellor James Schmidt. “Throughout her career, Olga has shown a passionate commitment to serving students, especially to ensuring underrepresented groups have the opportunity to pursue their higher education dreams. UW-Eau Claire aspires to be an inclusive and equitable learning community, and I am confident Olga can help our campus reach that goal.”

Diaz will replace Dr. Warren Anderson, who left UW-Eau Claire in December 2020 to become the senior equity, diversity and inclusion officer for the UW System, where he works with system leaders and individual campuses on EDI initiatives throughout the state.

“I am incredibly proud and excited to join the Blugold family,” Diaz says. “The UW-Eau Claire campus community has done great work to center diversity, equity and inclusion as core values. I look forward to contributing to the team in support of students, faculty, staff and the Eau Claire community.”

Diaz is familiar with the Eau Claire community and UW-Eau Claire despite being a lifelong resident of California. She has been a frequent visitor to Wisconsin because her husband grew up in Eau Claire and her father-in-law, Dr. James Phillip “Phil” Griffin, was a former UW-Eau Claire philosophy professor and a chairman of the philosophy and religious studies department.

Besides her duties at Palomar College, Diaz also took on the administrative role as interim dean of counseling for two years. Before that, Diaz was director of employment services at Interfaith Community Services in Escondido and a senior research analyst at Santa Clara University.

Diaz was also the first elected person of color on the Escondido City Council—where she served 12 years.

Diaz received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Santa Clara University and her master’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University. She is enrolled in a doctoral program in organizational change and leadership at the University of Southern California.

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