Ralph Northam
**FILE** Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) attends a rally for Virginia State Senator and candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D) at the Wexton campaign headquarters on October 30, 2018 in Sterling, Virginia. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has named a former university official as the state’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

In her new role, Janice Underwood, selected for the post after a summer long search and who had led diversity initiatives at Old Dominion University, will be charged with improving practices throughout the staffing and activities of state government.

Underwood starts Sept. 16 and will report directly to the governor and his chief of staff.

“I am committed to making Virginia more equitable and inclusive, and that starts with my administration and our state government,” Northam said Monday in announcing Underwood’s appointment. “I look forward to having her as a partner in this important work.”

Northam was the subject of a national firestorm in February over a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page from 1984,

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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