Paola Lopéz Fincannon – a student affairs professional with expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion – has been named director of the Days-Massolo Center.
“Paola brings dynamic passion to her work evidenced in her years working on increasing underrepresented student enrollment,” said Vice President and Dean of Students Terry Martinez in making the announcement.
At the University of Oklahoma (OU), where Lopéz Fincannon spent nearly a decade, she led the development of the institution’s first diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan, significantly influencing the student experience.
In addition to serving as a diversity officer, Lopéz Fincannon enjoyed interacting with students in the classroom as an adjunct professor in the department of human relations. She also advised various student groups, ensuring they engaged with community organizations native to the Norman and Central Oklahoma areas, including the Tomas Rivera Educational Empowerment Conference and Latinos without Borders Camp, two of the largest Latino/Hispanic youth-focused conferences in Oklahoma.
Having dedicated her career in education to advocating and creating opportunities for underserved and underrepresented students, Lopez believes that “… leading with passion, integrity, and service is what drives intentional community transformation and empowerment.”
Her contributions as a volunteer are further evidence of Lopéz Fincannon's commitment to equity and inclusion. She has served in area public schools, advocating for underserved communities and volunteering as a bilingual interpreter, and has mentored youth through a youth running team and as a life coach through Bridges of Norman, Inc. In 2017, she served the state of Oklahoma on the governing board for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Oklahoma.
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Lopéz Fincannon attended OU and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human relations with a focus on human resource diversity and development. She is actively engaged in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), has served in various roles on the planning committee for the National Conference for Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), and is the recipient of the Oklahoma Gazette’s 2018 Forty under 40 for her philanthropic work in the community.
Lopéz Fincannon was selected after a competitive national search, coordinated by a committee comprised of campus partners from across the College. She will join Hamilton on July 15, 2019.
Opened in 2011, the Days-Massolo Center promotes diversity awareness and fosters dialogue among the growing number of cultures on the Hamilton campus. Through forums, panels, lectures and other programming developed in cooperation with students, faculty and staff, the center serves as a central resource for exploring intersections between gender, race, culture, religion, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic class and other facets of human difference.