Since H. Wes Pratt took on the role of chief diversity officer/assistant to the president at Missouri State University in 2016, he has led the institution in improving its culture by focusing on inclusive excellence and valuing the inclusion of diversity.
Inclusive excellence is a core value of the university and an integral component of the last two long range plans.
Today, Pratt announced to the Board of Governors that he will retire from Missouri State Aug. 1, 2022.
“Wes has been a leader of change at Missouri State and in the community as a whole. He has served the students, faculty, and staff, facilitated tough conversations, and fought for progress,” said MSU President Clif Smart. “We will miss his wisdom and guidance at MSU.”
Leaving a legacy on campus
Pratt, appointed by the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri, is a member of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness (CREF).
Since beginning at MSU in 2007, Pratt has served several roles:
- Coordinator of diversity, outreach and recruitment.
- Interim equal opportunity officer.
- Director of institutional equity and compliance/Title IX coordinator/ADA coordinator
- Assistant to the president and chief diversity officer.
During this time, he expanded diversity training and professional development not only on campus, but also across the city, region and state. He has been instrumental in offering the Collaborative Diversity Conference and the Facing Racism Institute to larger audiences.
He played a pivotal role in establishing the Student African American Brotherhood’s (SAAB) local chapter, Brother to Brother, in Springfield. Later, he worked with SAAB leadership and helped them relocate the organization’s headquarters to the MSU campus.
In the community, Pratt’s also credited with:
- Helping to revitalize the local NAACP chapter.
- Establishing The Gathering, a volunteer-led, community-focused group.
- Being the co-founder and president of the Multicultural Business Association (formerly Minorities in Business).
“Wes Pratt is a pillar of our community. His strong voice and clarion call has served as our collective conscience as well as a guiding light in our constant efforts to make Springfield a welcoming city for all,” said Mayor Ken McClure.
“I congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement and look forward to the next chapter of his life.”
For the work he has done as a public servant, Pratt has been recognized with the 2017 Biz 417 Breakthrough Award and 2016 Men of the Year Honoree by Springfield Business Journal among many others.
Search for replacement
An internal search for an interim chief diversity officer will begin immediately. The interim will serve a one-year term.
The university will assess the need for a national search at that time.