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Linda Daniels

Linda Daniels

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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University mourns Linda Daniels, longtime director of Multicultural Programs

Former Ohio University director of Multicultural Programs Linda R. Daniels died suddenly on Aug. 23, 2018, in Athens, Ohio.

The Pennsylvania native joined the University in October 1997 as the director of Multicultural Programs and in July 2000, she was given the additional role of director of the Lindley Multicultural Center. In her new role, Daniels supervised all of the programs and services of the Office of Multicultural Programs and Lindley Cultural Center.

Over the course of her nearly 18 years on the Athens Campus, she became known as a strong advocate for multicultural students. Her passion to create a diverse and inclusive space allowed many of the students to adopt the Athens Campus as their home away from home.

Professor emerita of African American Studies Dr. Francine Childs said she will remember Daniels as someone who loved students.

“Linda always did an excellent job of programming events for the students because she wanted the best for them,” Dr. Childs said. “I’ll always remember her for being a loyal worker who loved the students. I’m devastated by her passing.”

One of the students that Daniels’ impacted was Dr. Winsome Chunnu, Ohio University strategic director for diversity and inclusion and multicultural programs and initiatives.

“Linda hired me as a graduate assistant in the Multicultural Center and later promoted me to assistant director and then associate director,” Dr. Chunnu said. “She was instrumental in my career and my development both personally and professionally. As her longtime friend, I am really heartened by the outpouring of support on social media from the students who knew and worked with her as well as kind comments from faculty, staff and community members.”

Dr. David Descutner, who retired from the University in December 2017 after serving as an administrator and faculty member for more than 38 years, supervised Daniels during his two-year stint as interim vice provost for diversity and inclusion.

“Linda Daniels was an exemplary higher education professional whom I was proud to call a friend and a colleague,” Dr. Descutner said. “She and I were high school classmates at Lincoln High School in Midland, Pennsylvania, and we reconnected during our time together in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

“She was a principled, highly intelligent person with a sly wit – as she would always say when I gave her a hard time, ‘Don’t forget, David, I knew you when!’ – and impeccable character who cared deeply about students’ academic success and personal development. She touched the lives of hundreds of our students in the best of ways and was unfailingly a superb role model for how to be effective and successful without compromising her core values.”

Prior to Ohio University, Daniels served more than 14 years at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Her roles included assistant vice president for student affairs, associate dean of students, assistant dean of student life and assistant to the dean of student life. 

Daniels earned a master’s degree in college student personnel from Slippery Rock and a bachelor’s in journalism/communications from Point Park College.

Dr. Christine Taylor, a former OHIO administrator who is now vice president and associate provost for diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Alabama, said she will always remember the many shopping trips that she and Daniels shared. She said Daniels was always caring and compassionate toward the students.

“Linda Daniels, like countless other African-American women who have worked at Ohio University gave of herself, not because it was her job, but because she had true compassion and care for the development of students,” Dr. Taylor said. “This type of caring has made Athens a special place for African American students down thru the years.”