SDSU Chief Diversity Officer Aaron Bruce recognized as emerging leader

by Jasmine Bermudez, Staff Writer

San Diego State’s Chief Diversity Officer, Aaron Bruce, made the list for the Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive and Emerging Leaders by Diversity MBA Magazine.

The magazine highlights inclusion, offers career and life advice and celebrates accomplishments. The list was released on June 8.

The winners will be honored at the 10th Anniversary Leadership Conference and Awards Gala on Sept. 14 and 15 in Lisle, Illinois.

College of Business Assistant Dean Tita Gray said Bruce enjoys discussing ways he can help students have a better understanding of diversity and inclusion past race and ethnicity.

“When you care about that first, it creates the foundation for you to be able to then put processes, plans and strategies in place to make sure that SDSU provides an equitable environment for all students,” Gray said.

Brian Levett, senior kinesiology major, said Bruce has been an amazing resource for him.
“I look at him as a mentor because he keeps his door wide open for me and other members of the community for whatever it is that we need,” Levett said. “He is always there to give and show us opportunities.”

Bruce earned his undergraduate degree at Michigan State University where he majored in economics and political science.

He has been the SDSU Chief Diversity Officer for eight years. He has worked with senior level administration, faculty vice presidents and parties outside of SDSU to help the university achieve goals around diversity and inclusion.

Being recognized on Diversity MBA’s 10th Annual Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive and Emerging Leaders List is humbling and a great honor, Bruce said.

He said diversity and inclusion are not ideas that belong to one office or department on a campus, but are something that should run holistically through an organization. No matter a person’s position, they should feel valued, safe and supported through the lens of their own identity and understand that they are part of a larger collective, Bruce said.

“The greatest reward for me is helping students to be successful and overcome some of the challenges they might experience in a new environment,” Bruce said.

Gray said she is proud of Bruce’s accomplishments.

“It makes me honored to have him as a friend and colleague and lets me know that when I reach out to him for support and mentorship I am reaching out to the right person,” she said.

Levett said Bruce is an inspiration for him too.

“He is someone that I aspire to be, being able to exceed and achieve,” Levett said.
Bruce said his advice to become more inclusive is to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and explore cultures and lifestyles you are unfamiliar with.

“Gain a better sense of the challenges and successes of others,” Bruce said. “Everyone has an amazing story to share. Take time to understand and then be understood.”