Alderson Broaddus University names diversity officer

Alderson Broaddus University recently named its first diversity officer, selecting Ta-Rel Franklin, a 2016 alumnus, for the position.

“We appreciate Ta-Rel taking on this important new role,” stated Dr. James “Tim” Barry, president of Alderson Broaddus University. “This position was created to support our mission and to create an inclusive learning and working environment where all our students, faculty, and staff have an opportunity to succeed at AB.”

In his new role, Franklin will lead the implementation of strategic initiatives to enhance the campus culture for inclusion. He will co-lead the diversity task force, engaging faculty, staff, and students in focused conversations to gain insight and propose programming to support the University’s values and strategic goals.

“One of the many reasons I came to Alderson Broaddus as an undergraduate student was because of the genuine, welcoming, and inclusive atmosphere,” stated Franklin. “I’m honored to serve my alma mater in this position and to give back to the students on this campus. I’ve always had a passion for coaching and mentoring and can genuinely relate to the students that are here at AB.”

Originally from Garfield Heights, Ohio, Franklin earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from AB in 2016 and was a member of the men’s basketball team during his undergraduate career. He went on to earn his master’s degree in business administration from Bluffton University. Alongside these new duties, Franklin will continue to serve as the assistant coach to the men’s basketball team.

“With the diverse student body we serve, Ta-Rel’s expertise and skills will be invaluable,” stated Dr. Barry. “We are excited to further engage with our campus community as we work to support and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at AB.”

Alderson Broaddus University is one of the most diverse higher education institutions in West Virginia. Broken down by race and ethnicity, last year’s undergraduate class was 56% white, 30% Black or African American, 7% Hispanic or Latino, 6% were other, and 1% were two or more races. Students enroll from more than 19 states and 35 countries.

“I’m passionate about AB and the vision for this position,” said Franklin. “I’ll be working closely with students, but the goal is also to bring the whole campus and community together in discussions about diversity and inclusion. We are at a pivotal time in our history to elevate the importance of, advocate for, and cultivate a sense of belonging for every person of every color, race, and background.”

About Alderson Broaddus University

Alderson Broaddus University is an independent institution of higher learning, committed to serving the region as an academic, cultural, and religious resource, with programs based on a liberal arts foundation.

The mission of AB is to provide students with the highest quality education, striving to prepare students to succeed in their chosen disciplines and to fulfill their roles in a diverse society as well-rounded and responsible citizens.

Since its founding in 1871, AB has been a leader and innovator in higher education, with accolades in the health and natural sciences. Alderson Broaddus University stands out as one of the most innovative health education providers in Appalachia, pioneering the nation’s first baccalaureate physician assistant program of its kind in 1968, a post-baccalaureate physician assistant master’s degree program in 1993, and West Virginia’s first baccalaureate nursing program in 1945.

AB is located on a historic hilltop in Barbour County in Philippi, West Virginia. The University is rooted in historic and continuing relationships with the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. and the West Virginia Baptist Convention.

For more information about AB, visit