Ferris State University President David L. Eisler announced the new Chief Diversity Officer position in a campus memorandum on November 29, 2006:
Today I am pleased to announce the creation of a new position at Ferris State University, that of Chief Diversity Officer. This position will provide full-time release for a member of our faculty or staff who will lead our efforts for diversity and report directly to the President. Initially this will be a renewable one-year internal appointment. The person selected as Chief Diversity Officer will provide strategic organizational leadership and focus for our institution's diversity efforts. Included in these are the following:
- Lead and develop our institutional response to the changing educational landscape created by the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
- Increase our efforts to recruit, retain, and graduate a diverse student body
- Develop and build upon current efforts to recruit and retain a diverse workforce
- Work collaboratively with all university constituents to develop an institution-wide diversity plan.
On January 8, 2007, the Chief Diversity Officer was announced by President Eisler:
It is a pleasure to share with you that Dr. David Pilgrim has accepted the invitation to serve as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. David holds a bachelors degree from Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, and masters and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University. At Ohio State one of Dr. Pilgrim's concentrations was in race relations, and his doctoral dissertation, "College Administrators' Attitudes Toward the Adams Decree," dealt with racial segregation in higher education.
David is a tenured professor in sociology at Ferris State University and has served on our faculty since 1990. One of the courses he frequently teaches on our campus is Sociology 340, American Minorities. He was one of the original members of the Ferris State University Diversity Counts! Committee. He created the Jim Crow Museum as a learning laboratory that would help students learn about racism, and lay the foundation for improved race relations on our campus. David is a frequent author and speaker on racism and diversity issues throughout the country. Many of you know the recent story of how he worked as a consultant to Will Smith in the actor's directorial debut on the UPN Show, "All of Us."