December 11, 2015

Diversity leader and SVSU alum Dexter to speak to SVSU graduates

Saginaw Valley State University students will hear from an alumnus who is recognized as a national leader in creating diverse leadership teams for major corporations. Billy Dexter will address graduates during Commencement exercises Friday, Dec. 18 at 7:30 pm. and Saturday, Dec. 19 at 11 a.m. in SVSU’s Ryder Center.

Commencement exercises for graduates in the colleges of Business & Management and Health & Human Services will be held Friday evening. Students completing degrees in the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Science, Engineering & Technology will take part in the ceremony scheduled for Saturday morning.

As is tradition, SVSU President Donald Bachand will congratulate each graduate in both ceremonies as he or she crosses the stage.

The graduating class consists of 637 students who have applied to graduate, including 560 who have indicated that they intend to don regalia and march in their respective ceremonies. A total of 505 students are expected to complete bachelor's degree requirements, and another 132 students are expected to complete master's and advanced degrees.

An SVSU graduate, Dexter serves as a managing partner at Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm. He leads the company's global diversity advisory services practice that assists clients in creating diverse leadership teams.  Dexter works with clients to develop inclusive solutions for talent acquisition and leadership development for global executives. His clients include major companies such as Allstate, Capital One, John Deere and the NBA.

A leader in the talent acquisition and diversity/inclusion field for more than 25 years, Dexter previously served as executive vice president and chief diversity officer for MTV Networks, a Viacom company. Prior to that, Dexter was president of Hudson Inclusion Solutions, a business division of Hudson Highland Group, a diversity consulting practice he founded within Hudson Highland.

A resident of Lemont, Illinois, Dexter currently serves on the board of directors as a trustee of the Metropolitan Club of Chicago, Link Unlimited Scholars, the Executive Leadership Council, the Goodman Theater of Chicago and the NFL Players Advisory Association.

Dexter has received numerous honors, including a recent selection by Chicago United as a recipient of Business Leader of Color.  The Society of Human Resources Management named him one of the "Top 100 Global Diversity Thought Leaders."  Savoy Magazine awarded Dexter with its trailblazer award and recognized him as one of the Top 50 African-American executives in 2010. SVSU selected him for an Outstanding Alumni award in 2011.

Actively involved as a student at SVSU, Dexter was a member of the 1982-83 NAIA national championship track and field teams; he was a member of student government and the Organization of Black Unity, and was selected as Homecoming King in 1983. He was selected as SVSU’s Outstanding Alumnus in the College of Art & Behavioral Sciences in 2010. Dexter also completed a master's degree at Michigan State University.