Eastern Michigan University Appoints Chief Diversity Officer, Executive Director of EMU Foundation

James Smith, president of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, named Dwight Hamilton as the university’s chief diversity office, and Maher Salah as the university’s new vice president for advancement and executive director of the EMU Foundation.
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Dwight Hamilton
Dwight Hamilton
Maher Salah
Maher Salah

James Smith, president of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, named Dwight Hamilton as the university’s chief diversity office, and Maher Salah as 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,” says 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.”

Hamilton joins Eastern after a 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 EMU’s chief diversity officer, Hamilton will oversee the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and 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.

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to serve Eastern Michigan University,” says Hamilton. “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 first 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.

Salah joins Eastern after a career in fundraising at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is currently U-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 EMU, Salah will oversee the school’s fundraising efforts, alumni engagement, and the compliance work related to the EMU Foundation. He will serve on the President’s Executive Council.

“I am honored to join President Smith and his leadership team at such an exciting time for Eastern Michigan University,” says Salah. “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.”

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.