Clarence Vaughn, III

“Being able to encourage leaders has been a key part of my work. In education, investing in our future leaders and preparing them for the workforce is important.”

Diversity & Community Relations - Director - Faculty

Clarence Vaughn, III, has always felt at home on Rocky Top. A member of the Chancellor’s Associates, he participates in several Knoxville organizations and also worked with the City of Knoxville.

In April, he brought his experience to the Haslam College of Business as the college’s director of diversity and community relations. Vaughn takes over for Tyvi Small, who is now the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s vice chancellor for diversity and engagement.

“This role aligns with my previous experience and primary goals of recruitment, retention, engagement and placement,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn will provide strategic leadership in creating an integrated vision and shared responsibility for facilitating the college’s diversity goals and for fostering and supporting a campus culture that respects and appreciates individual differences. Through collaboration with offices across the college and university, he will advance diversity and inclusion in the university’s research and educational missions, creating a welcoming environment for students, faculty and staff.

He previously served as executive director of the Police Advisory Review Committee for the City of Knoxville. Through an independent review of police action, Vaughn worked to strengthen relations between Knoxville’s police officers and its citizens. Before working for the city, he had a distinguished career in banking, including serving as director of diversity and inclusion with U.S. Bank.

“Education, training and support are things I’ve always been passionate about,” he said. “Being able to encourage leaders has been a key part of my work. In education, investing in our future leaders and preparing them for the workforce is important.”

Among Vaughn’s goals for his first year in Haslam is bolstering connections with the community to bring more opportunities to students.

He has strong connections and opportunities for outreach throughout the Knoxville community. He served as former chair of the Knoxville Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission and is a board member of the United Way of Greater Knoxville, Dogwood Arts, Regional MEDIC Center, Helen Ross McNabb Center and the National Association of Civil Oversight for Law Enforcement.

Vaughn sees many advantages in helping students build relationships in the community. Opportunities with local businesses, organizations and alumni could include mentorship, corporate partners, speaking engagements, lunch and learns and tours.

“In my own collegiate experience, I was able to plug into the community, which led to many connections,” he said. “Local organizations and businesses have connections that reach beyond the region—statewide, nationally and globally.”

Going forward, Vaughn plans to build on the college’s strong programs, seeking student input to grow programs and create a welcoming, inclusive environment.

“It’s important to hear from students and get their thoughts on how we can improve our support of marginalized and disadvantaged communities.”

While Vaughn officially hails from South Florida, he says he is excited to join his wife, Syreeta, a two-time UT alumna, as an official part of the UT family.

“I’m thrilled to bring my passion for the community to UT in an official capacity,” said Vaughn.