Mason Lighting the Way
Spotlights from the Task Force
More than 130 faculty, staff and students are working on George Mason University’s Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force, which is taking a hard look at the current state of diversity and inclusivity efforts at the university and making recommendations for the future.
These individuals come from across our campuses and bring their different skill sets and expertise to this work. In this series, we will spotlight members of the task force and find out what drives them.
Assistant Vice President, University Life
Committee: Co-Chair, Campus and Community Engagement
Creston Lynch tells people he started his career in multicultural affairs as a freshman at the University of Memphis when he walked into the then-named office of minority affairs and got a job as a student worker.
“In a way I've never left,” Lynch said. “There hasn't been a day in my career where I haven't been centering my work around diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Lynch is an assistant vice president in George Mason University’s University Life, where he leads the Center for Culture, Equity and Empowerment and is responsible for helping launch Mason’s new Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT), one of 23 such centers in the United States. He is also an adjunct in the Higher Education Program and is teaching a course on cultural pluralism in higher education this semester.
Before joining Mason in July 2018, he directed diversity programs at a number of universities including Southern Methodist University, where he was director of multicultural student affairs. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Memphis, Lynch continued on to get a PhD in higher education administration from University of North Texas.
“I come from a family of educators, so it's literally in my DNA,” said Lynch, who is the son of a retired high school guidance counselor and retired high school principal.
It is his grandmother’s story of becoming an educator that inspires him each day. She earned her master's degree from Indiana University in the mid 1950s, but to do so, she had to leave her family, including his mother, in Mississippi each summer to go and do her studies.
“There were no places for Black people to get advanced degrees in Mississippi,” said Lynch. “Her sacrifice is a part of my legacy. And it's a reminder as to why it's important for me to do what I do, in honor of the sacrifices she made in order to be a trailblazer for our family.”
Lynch serves as co-chair of the Campus and Community Engagement Committee of Mason’s Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force. Among the committee’s recommendations is building the community connections, including K-12 partnerships, for the new Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation.
“Here at Mason we're intentionally building an infrastructure that supports long-term, tangible and sustainable change,” he said of the work. “There is a level of of investment on the part of our students. Our students are motivated and are looking for ways to raise and use their voices for positive change, which is a great thing.”