The CDE Executive Board consists of a chair, vice chair and parliamentarian, secretary, treasurer, information officer, regional representatives, archivist, historian emeritus, and board advisors. Meet the 2017 CDE Executive Board.
Angel Garcia serves as the Assistant Director of Residential Education at Georgetown University. In addition to supporting upper-class residential communities, Angel is in charge of the day to day operations of the Living Learning Communities at Georgetown.
Born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua, Angel calls Tampa, Florida his home. With Bachelor in Arts degrees in Humanities and Philosophy from Florida International University, and a Master’s degree in Student Affairs and emphasis in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University, Angel brings 10 years of experience to the CDE team.
Before joining Georgetown, Angel spent four years at Elon University working in Residential Life and Multicultural Affairs.
Bennie D. Williams
Director, Office of Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity
Le Moyne College
A native of Buffalo, NY and a product of Jesuit education Bennie earned a B.A. in Education and a M.S. Ed. in College Student Personnel Administration from Canisius College. His Master’s thesis focused on student motivation in co-curricular experiences focusing primarily on residential students. Bennie has been a member of the Le Moyne College community since 2013. Beginning his career in residence life and student activities, Bennie has worked with RA development, multicultural organizations, commuter students, and campus programming. In 2015, he transitioned to full-time work as a diversity practitioner focusing on supporting students of color and others from marginalized populations. In addition to his role in CDE, he also serves as the co-chair of the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA) 2020 Summer Institute which will be held at Loyola University Chicago. Bennie was recognized by the Peace Islands Institute for his work with diversity and support of the Syracuse, NY community.
Bennie currently lives in the city of Syracuse with his beautiful wife Jazmine, whom he met at Canisius College.
Raymond Plaza, PhD
Director, Office for Diversity and Inclusion
Santa Clara University
Raymond V. Plaza (Ray) serves as the Director, Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) at Santa Clara University. Ray started his tenure at SCU in late July 2015 and as ODI Director is responsible for day-to-day activities relating to diversity and inclusion efforts on the campus. Prior to Santa Clara University, Ray worked at Bowling Green State University and at Virginia Tech, and brings twenty years of experience working in higher education.
Ray is a Hialeah, Florida native who earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in both English and History from the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he also earned a Master of Arts in Education, Student Personnel in Higher Education. In August 2016, Ray completed his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech.
Ray is active professionally within ACPA, the American College Personnel Association and serves as the Past Chair of the Latin@/x Network, and the Convention Chair for ACPA18.
Within CDE, Ray served as the host for the CDE2016 meeting at Santa Clara University, served as Secretary in 2016 and now serves as the current Vice Chair.
Taj P. Smith, EdD
CDE Vice Chair
Director, Center for Diversity and Inclusion
Adjunct Professor, Introduction to Gender & Diversity Studies
Taj Smith is an educator, consultant, facilitator, scholar, and speaker specializing in diversity and inclusion, social justice education, intergroup dialogue, curriculum design, and program assessment. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, he is the Director of Xavier University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion as well as an Adjunct Professor, teaching Introduction to Gender & Diversity Studies. At Xavier, he serves on numerous committees including the President’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council and Antonio Johnson Scholarship Selection Committee, among others. Outside of Xavier, he serves as a Southeastern Regional Representative for the Association for Jesuit Colleges and Universities Diversity and Equity Executive Board. He has recently joined the Board of Directors for Design Impact.
Prior to joining Xavier University, Taj was Assistant Director of The Davis Center and Lecturer at Williams College (Massachusetts) and an Instructor and the Intergroup Dialogue Program Coordinator at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. As a consultant and workshop facilitator, he has worked with Miami University (Ohio), Design Impact, Amherst College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Hampshire College, among others.
Taj earned his doctorate in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, an M.A. in Africana Studies from Cornell University, and a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Media Studies from Rutgers University. In 2009 he co-founded Phallacies, a non-profit and performing arts education organization that provides leadership development, health education, and violence prevention while encouraging young men to challenge hegemonic masculinity. He is currently working a book chapter on how to start men’s programs for undergraduates, and has made contributions to the Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice and Readings for Diversity and Social Justice.
For fun, Taj enjoys fashion, grocery shopping and watching the Walking Dead and Netflix shows like House of Cards, Bloodline, Chewing Gum, Master of None and Umbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He is also a very competitive bowler and loves dining at new restaurants.
William Johnson, PhD
CDE Treasurer & Bill Davis Scholarship Chair
Associate Dean of Students
Will Johnson serves as the Associate Dean of Students at Fairfield University. He previously served as director of the Office of Student Diversity Programs, Associate Director of Admission for Diversity, and co-chair of the President’s Institutional Diversity Council, all at Fairfield. In his current capacity, he provides oversight for the student conduct process and the University’s behavioral intervention team. Additionally, he serves as the Title IX deputy compliance coordinator
Will is active in a number of professional organizations. He is currently a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Conference on Diversity and Equity leadership team. He previously served as the chair for the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee. He is the past-president of Northeast Consortium Bridging Access to College (NECBAC). In addition, he has dedicated countless hours to the New England Association of College Admission Counselors as a member of the Professional Development Committee, both a member and chair of the Annual Meeting and Conference Committee, and a member of the regional governing board. He has presented locally, regionally, and nationally on a number of topics related to admission and recruitment, college access, student retention, and diversity.
Will attended Northeastern University earning a B.S. in education and earned a M.S. in organizational behavior from the University of Hartford. He is currently a doctoral candidate in education from Fordham University.
He and his wife Jenny reside in Hamden, CT with their two daughters Makaela, 16, and Isabella, 12.