I write to share that our friend and colleague, Branden Grimmett, Ed.D., will leave LMU on July 1, 2022, to become the inaugural vice provost for career and professional development and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He will oversee the creation and launch of The Pathways Center, bringing together Emory’s Career Center, National Scholarships and Fellowships, Undergraduate Research Programs, Pre-Health Advising, and Student Employment. This new role is an excellent opportunity for Branden, whose leadership has transformed LMU into a university known for holistically preparing its graduates for the world of work.
Branden joined LMU in 2015 as associate provost for career and professional development (CPD), leading the team responsible for successfully launching LMU students into post-grad life. At LMU, Branden developed a CPD team of full-time professionals, graduate assistants, and peer advisors, resulting in more than 20,000 individual career coaching appointments, 700 classroom presentations, and 1,000 events to date.
His collaborative approach to career development led to university-wide initiatives that are now LMU traditions. Since 2015, nearly 1,000 participants have attended the VOCARÉ retreat for sophomore and transfer students. In 2016, CPD launched “After LMU: Cap and Gown Pick Up,” now a rite of passage for soon-to-be LMU graduates. During the event, LMU students complete the First and Next Destination surveys, helping the university track and communicate post-graduate outcomes. For the Class of 2021, 98 percent of undergraduates and 99 percent of graduate students were employed, enrolled in graduate school, or pursuing post-graduate service within six months of commencement.
Branden’s commitment to inclusion has been a hallmark of his leadership at LMU, serving as co-chair of the President’s Black Leadership Advisory Council (PBLAC), representing the concerns of LMU’s Black community to the president and cabinet to disrupt structures of systemic oppression and anti-Black racism. Under his leadership CPD created the DEI Employer Diversity and Inclusion Policy, requiring all companies that wish to hire LMU students to agree to inclusive practices that promote a healthy work environment for interns and full-time hires. He also served on the Inclusive History and Images Project (IHIP) and Implicit Bias Team.
While at LMU, Branden earned his Ed.D. in higher education administration from USC. His dissertation researched how Black, Latino/a, and Asian American presidents and provosts at predominantly white institutions led their universities in the era of #BlackLivesMatter.
We will have an opportunity in the coming month to wish Branden well as he prepares to move to this new role. Please join me in thanking Branden for his contributions during his time at LMU and in wishing him well.