Director of the Afro-American Cultural Center and Assistant Dean of Yale College: Risë Nelson

Risë Nelson began her tenure as Director of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale in August 2015. She has since orchestrated a renaissance at the House by reinvigorating community building efforts, increasing programming and student engagement through strategic initiatives and student success programs, and championing student wellness and social justice efforts. Dean Nelson was previously at Cornell, where she served since 2012 as Director of Student Success Programs in the University’s Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives. In that role, and in others she has held at Mercy College, Loyola University, the University of Notre Dame, St. John’s University, and Columbia University, she worked to equip students to make the transition to college, to develop them as scholars and leaders, and to prepare them for post-graduate success. Her focus for the past decade has been on providing students with advising, advocacy, academics, financial assistance, professional development, and scholarly and cultural opportunities. Dean Nelson earned her M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University, in higher and postsecondary education, and her B.A. from Northeastern, in English and in multiethnic American studies. Dean Nelson is proud to be the House’s first Director who was raised in New Haven.