Jessica Cruz, Marquette County

Cruz Portrait

1st Term: 2019

Dr. Jessica Cruz is the managing director for the Just Futures initiative, “Crafting Democratic Futures” at The Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan. Dr. Cruz has a demonstrated commitment to place-based, community driven, and culturally relevant approaches to higher education.

Dr. Jessica Cruz became NMU’s inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer on February 1, 2016. Prior to NMU, Dr. Cruz served as co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Latin@ Studies at Ferris State University (Ferris). Dr. Cruz is known for establishing place-based, community-driven partnerships with universities focused on equity and education. This work has earned Dr. Cruz several accolades, including the 2015 GVSU Young Alumni of the Year Award. More recently, Dr. Cruz was one of two selected in the nation for the National Association of Diversity Officers (NADOHE) Chief Diversity Officers Fellowship in 2017. 

Originally from Puerto Rico, Dr. Cruz grew up in Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Cruz obtained a Bachelor of Science in Public and Non-profit Administration with a specialization in Community Development and a Bachelor of Arts in French from Grand Valley State University. Dr. Cruz earned a Doctorate of Education, Master of Education, and Master of Arts in International Educational Development with a focus on Higher and Post-secondary Education, Latina/o and Latin American Education, and Bilingual-Bicultural Education, respectively; all from Teachers College, Columbia University.