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Denise Pearson

Contact Info


Denise Pearson, Ph.D., has more than 25 years of higher education leadership experience. She currently serves as Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). She has worked in diverse institutional types – both private and public – and in a variety of functional areas including academic affairs and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Denise is a published author and national speaker, and was recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as one its 100 Most Powerful Women in Higher Education (2022).


Denise holds a Ph.D. in Administration and Supervision of Education from Marquette University, an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from the University of Denver, and a B.A. in Human Services from Pace University.

Helping Students be Successful

Throughout her career, Denise has consistently valued inclusive and servant leadership. She also emphasizes the intersection between policy and practice to advance mission-driven inclusive excellence. One of her favorite quotes is from Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” She has demonstrated unwavering advocacy for educational equity throughout the P-16 system of American education.