Pearl Leonard-Rock to Lead Diversity Center

Posted on July 12th, 2013 by

Pearl Leonard-Rock

Pearl Leonard-Rock

Pearl Leonard-Rock recently joined the staff at Gustavus Adolphus College as Director of Multicultural Programs and the Diversity Center. Virgil Jones, who previously served in the position is now Assistant Dean of Students in the Dean of Students Office. Leonard-Rock began her new duties on July 1, 2013.

“I am excited to be at Gustavus – a place that has demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion with resources to do this work well,” Leonard-Rock said. “I am pleased to build upon the efforts of the former Director and his staff who have laid a sustainable foundation for inclusion and a center where students can be who they are. If student experiences are anything like mine has been during these first two weeks here, then I know that Gustavus is truly a welcoming and inclusive place.”

Leonard-Rock spent the past 12 years at Edgewood College in Madison, Wis., as Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. At Edgewood her responsibilities included creating an inclusive campus by providing teaching and learning experiences for faculty, staff, and students and creating and developing programs that served as a campus-wide catalyst to promote and celebrate all aspects of diversity and social justice. She also spent seven years (1991-1998) at Beloit College in the Department of Public Instruction’s pre-college program and as the Assistant Director of Student Support Services.

She has served as an On-site Conference Innovation Team Coordinator at the White Privilege Conference since 2009 and also served a four-year stint as a YWCA Madison Board Member. Her professional affiliations include the Madison Network of Black Professionals, the NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and the John D. O’Bryant National Think Tank.

Leonard-Rock holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Aurora University in Illinois and a master’s degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminal justice from Northern Illinois University.

“Pearl is a tremendous addition to the student life staff. She has a strong background in higher education and will be a great leader of our diversity and multicultural programs,” Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students JoNes VanHecke said. “I think students and staff will find her energy and passion for diversity and inclusion contagious.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin



  1. Chaplain Rod Anderson says:


    Great to chat with you this week, and even greater to read that you come to us via the same Edgewood College that sends us one of our two new Chaplains-Brian Konkol!! I hope your teamwork brings many blessings…Gustavus is doubly blessed to have the you and Brian join us!

    Pastor Rod Anderson
    Interim Sr. Chaplain
    612 418 3720

  2. Bridget Phillips says:

    Welcome aboard, Pearl! It has been a pleasure meeting you and interacting with you thus far.