Deitra Tent

Texas Southern University will welcome Dietra Trent, Ph.D., executive director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities as the speaker for the Spring 2023 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 13 at 9:30 a.m. in the Health and Physical Education Arena.

“I am grateful that Dr. Trent has graciously agreed to join us for such a momentous occasion as commencement. She is a true partner in transforming lives,” TSU President Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young said.

Today, Dr. Trent spends her time strategizing and advising the Office of the President in the Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education on key administrative priorities the are central to providing a level advantage for educational attainment in partnership with HBCU leaders, representatives, students and alumni. The initiative is dedicated to helping HBCUs successfully compete for top opportunities in national and global markets while providing education and economic experiences that can improve the standards of living for students and communities HBCUs primarily serve.

“Dr. Trent is the physical embodiment of a servant leader,” said Dr. Needha Boutte-Queen, professor, acting provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Her passion for effectively serving and elevating HBCUs is demonstrated across her professional career. A graduate of an HBCU, Dr. Trent understands the challenges and opportunities that exist on HBCU campuses and now uses her knowledge and skills to advocate for their presence while simultaneously promoting the great things we are doing every day. We are proud to have such a dynamic champion for equity and excellence on our stage and welcome Dr. Trent to TSU.”

Still, Dr. Trent strives to establish relationship the lead to lasting partnerships that shall advance work with agencies, private-sector employers, educational associations, philanthropic organizations and other collaborators to increase the capacity and competitiveness of HBCUs to provide the highest quality education to an increasing number of students.

Dr. Trent has nearly three decades for experience working to advance equity for Virginia’s most vulnerable populations. Most recently, she served in leadership positions at George Mason University, including chief of staff and interim vice president for Compliance, Diversity and Ethics. In 2016, Dr. Trent was appointed as Virginia’s Secretary of Education. Prior to her appointment, she served as Deputy Secretary of Education, a position she also held during Governor Tim Kaine’s administration. Having served in the administrations of three former governors (including Mark Warner, as well as the Office of Congressman Bobby Scott, Dr. Trent has gained a wealth of federal, state, and higher education experience and insight.

Dr. Trent earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminal justice from Hampton University. She secured both her master’s and doctoral degrees in public administration and policy from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The commencement exercise will be livestreamed on the TSU Commencement website and social media platforms.