If Only They Knew: A Conversation With Anita B. Walton

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Anita B. Walton, Vice Chancellor, University Advancement, Elizabeth City State University, joined CAAE members at our 2020 Virtual Summer Session for a conversation about equity, diversity and inclusion.

Paul Rucker (UWashington) facilitated a conversation with Anita B. Walton, Vice Chancellor, University Advancement, Elizabeth City State University, during the CAAE Virtual Summer Session on July 13, 2020, where Anita shared her very personal reflections on equity, diversity and inclusion within alumni relations and university advancement. (Full speaker bio, below.)

Anita closed her frank and poignant talk with a recital of statements on the theme, “If only they knew,” which she graciously shared with CAAE: 

If they only knew …

There are so many more just like me, who don’t care to try to convince you they’re a great fit for your organization and they can do the job. 

If they only knew …

If they had to learn and do everything I’ve had to learn and do to be successful in the environment in which we serve, you MIGHT be really tired. 


If they only knew …

If I brought my WHOLE self to work, you might wonder exactly, who I am? You might say, is that Anita? You might say, I had no idea she was so creative!


If they only knew …

How nerve wracking it can be to think, because you are an African American, that if you make a mistake, it might not only be your downfall, but others who look like you, might not even get a chance. You see, if a caucasian male or female doesn’t do well, no one ever says, I’m not sure we should hire another caucasian. If another African American is hired, there is a concerted effort to make sure they are a “good fit.”


If they only knew …

Diversity, equity and inclusion should start with your student organizations.


If they only know …

How much thought goes into hiring another person of color because you want to make sure everyone is clear that is NOT why they are being hired. 


Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) is a leading historically Black college and one of sixteen University of North Carolina System member-institutions. Appointed earlier this year, Anita is responsible for planning and implementing comprehensive programs and services for private, corporate, and supplemental government support. Anita also serves as Executive Director to the Elizabeth City State University Foundation and is a member of the Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet, which will lead the campus in executing its five-year strategic plan, Forging Our Future, to guide ECSU in building a sustainable future.

Prior to joining ECSU, Anita served for three years as Senior Director of Diversity and Talent Management at the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). From 2009 to 2016, Anita served in executive leadership roles at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), first as Director of Alumni Relations and later as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Anita was the first non-graduate, second woman and the youngest person in the school’s 100-year history to serve as alumni director at NCCU.

From 1997-2009, Anita served at her alma mater, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. While at the UNC General Alumni Association, she led in various roles and was recognized regionally and nationally for her work with student programs and the Black Alumni Reunion.

Anita has had a distinguished volunteer relationship with CASE, having served as District III Chair, a member of the CASE Commission for Alumni Relations and as a faculty member for numerous district and national conferences, including the Senior Alumni Relations Professionals Institute. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned a Master's degree in Education from North Carolina State University.

Photo:  ECSU Spring Commencement 2015 (ECSU Flickr)

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