Eastern Michigan University President James Smith fills two key leadership positions: Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Advancement, Executive Director of the EMU Foundation

The bridge at Mark Jefferson Science Complex with Halle Library in the background.

YPSILANTI --  Eastern Michigan University President James Smith has named two individuals to key leadership positions at the University. Dwight Hamilton has been named the University’s Chief Diversity Officer. Maher Salah is the University's new Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the EMU Foundation.

“Following nationwide searches, we are pleased to welcome two highly accomplished individuals to our leadership team,” said Smith. “With the excitement of the start of the new semester, our $200 million ‘Welcome Home 2025’ housing project, and so many positive academic initiatives on our campus, our new colleagues join us at a time of great momentum. They will make excellent contributions and serve the University community with the highest standards.” 

Dwight Hamilton

Dwight Hamilton, Chief Diversity Officer

Hamilton joins Eastern after a diverse career in higher education diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work and the legal profession. A Michigan native, he earned an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a law degree from Wayne State University. After practicing law in western Michigan, he worked in a variety of DEI and Title IX roles at Grand Valley State University, Smith College, and Northwestern University. Most recently, he led DEI efforts for a corporate firm that supports several private universities.

As Eastern Michigan University’s Chief Diversity Officer, Hamilton will oversee the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response (which includes the Title IX Coordinator), Office of DEI Programs, the MAGIC program, and the Brotherhood and Sisterhood Scholars program. He will serve on the President’s Executive Council. 

Hamilton said, "I'm thrilled at the opportunity to serve Eastern Michigan University. In many ways, this is a homecoming for me and I'm looking forward to getting to work. DEI work remains essential to create and support learning, living, and working environments that enable individuals to thrive academically and professionally. I’ve seen first-hand the benefits that this work provides in higher education. I’m looking forward to engaging with Eastern Michigan University’s students, faculty, and staff and in contributing to this vibrant community.”

Hamilton’s first day at the University is Monday, Sept. 18. He succeeds Doris Fields, who served as EMU's inaugural Chief Diversity Officer on an interim basis. Fields has returned to the Office of the Provost to serve as Interim Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Programs and Initiatives. 

Maher Salah

Maher Salah, Vice President for Advancement, Executive Director of the EMU Foundation

Salah joins Eastern after a progressively expanding and successful career in fundraising at the University of Michigan. He is currently U of M’s Senior Executive Director of Development for University Initiatives and Campaign Strategy, in the Office of University Development. His prior work has included leading fundraising and alumni initiatives for University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center and Law School, as well as overseeing student-athlete development programs in Michigan Athletics.

Salah earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan. 

At Eastern Michigan University, Salah will oversee EMU’s fundraising efforts, alumni engagement, and the compliance work related to the EMU Foundation. He will serve on the President’s Executive Council. 

Salah said, “I am honored to join President Smith and his leadership team at such an exciting time for Eastern Michigan University. It will be a privilege to work alongside EMU’s outstanding team of advancement professionals, the Foundation Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

“The passion and generosity of the EMU community is remarkable. I look forward to engaging deeply with Eastern's alumni and supporters. I could not be more excited to help build on the great momentum of the GiveRise Campaign and support EMU students in their pursuit of life changing experiences. The students and faculty will continue to inspire our advancement team every day, as we work to support our mission as an Institution of Opportunity.”

Salah’s start date is Monday, Oct. 2. He succeeds University Vice President for Communications Walter Kraft who stepped in as interim vice president for advancement after the departure earlier this year of Bill Shepard.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

August 31, 2023

Written by:
Walter Kraft

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher