Nicholas S. Zeppos, JD

Chancellor, Vanderbilt University

The INSIGHT Into Diversity Giving Back Award honors college presidents and chancellors who go above and beyond their everyday duties to give back to their institutions and communities. Chancellor Zeppos was nominated by colleagues and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity as a 2016 Giving Back Award recipient for his dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion and encouraging community service both on his campus and in the surrounding community. 

Civic Involvement
Board member of Conexión Américas, a nonprofit collaborative that assists families and individuals with achieving goals such as buying a home, starting a business, improving their English, and more

Established Initiatives
Opportunity Vanderbilt, a need-blind admissions process and financial aid program for undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens that meets 100 percent of a student’s financial need; VUcept, a semester-long orientation in which first-year students meet to form strong connections across different schools, perspectives, and geographical backgrounds

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion
This past year, Zeppos created the Chancellor’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Community. He also appointed a diversity discussion group, which he meets with monthly to discuss ideas to support employee diversity. In addition, he has hosted diversity dinners and lunches for underrepresented faculty members.

Recognizing Faculty Contributions
Zeppos recently created the Joseph A. Johnson Jr. Distinguished Leadership Professor Award to recognize faculty members whose contributions to the university have enhanced equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Nomination Excerpt
“Nicholas Zeppos’ parents were first-generation Greek Americans who sponsored other Greek families’ citizenship. His commitment to diversity and empowering others comes to him by the example of his ancestors and their deep appreciation of our country. He has demonstrated dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion for decades at Vanderbilt University. This is not new to him or to our community. Through his leadership, Vanderbilt has become infinitely more diverse. Although he realizes the vast amount of work that stands before us as educators and as a nation to ensure that all people feel that they have a voice, he is undeterred in his efforts.”