Valerie Gregory: Networking
by Peggy Harrison
counselors Carolyn Livingston (left) and Ryan Hargraves (right)
assist Valerie Gregory with outreach efforts to recruit minority
By Anne Bromley
Valerie Gregory came to Charlottesville in 1980, fresh out of
Hampton College, to teach in elementary school, she never expected
to end up working at U.Va. It was a place local black people referred
to as the big white house or the plantation.
after 20 years, half of that time spent as a principal, she felt
it was time for a change. A friend told her about a job opening
at the University. Gregory applied and has been working in the
admissions office as director of outreach for minority recruitment
for four years. Shes part of a sister circle
of African-American women faculty and staff who get together after
work, and shes been involved in U.Va.s diversity efforts
has served her well, and Gregory would like to see the University
create more networking opportunities for employees, students and
local residents, as well as potential applicants and their families.
She and her husband, who graduated from U.Va. Law
School, like finding ways to reach out, she said. Every year
they adopt a law student, for example, and help her
or him get to know the community.
didnt let the warnings she heard about U.Va. deter her from
going to the Curry School of Education. She earned a masters
degree in administration and supervision, which led to her eventually
becoming principal of Clark Elementary School.
Curry, I found the professors and students very open. It was a
knows, however, that its not always easy for African Americans
and other minorities to make connections here.
a lot of support for diversity herse at the top, President
[John T. ] Casteen, Dean of Admission Jack Blackburn and others
but were still struggling to get there, she
latest round of diversity efforts seems more promising, Gregory
said, calling the 2002 Envision Diversity program a springboard
thats been extremely helpful.
found the reception for minorities, organized by Robert D. Sweeney,
senior vice president for development and public affairs, last
fall a great networking event. She said African Americans were
asking each other how they got their jobs at U.Va. and saying
it happened as a result of somebody telling somebody else about
a job possibility networking.
said she hopes to see more of these kinds of connections being
created on Grounds and with the local community.