Amid the country’s continued reckoning with racial injustice, Maryland athletics announced Thursday it hired Cynthia Edmunds as the department’s senior associate athletic director for diversity, equity and inclusion/organizational effectiveness.

“I appreciate Maryland Athletics’ commitment to this work, and I look forward to working with so many terrific staff, coaches, and student-athletes,” Edmunds said in a statement. “I am both thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to serve and affect change in the business of athletics and sport culture.”

Edmunds has worked in this university’s president’s office since 2010 and will begin her new position on Sept. 21. She has also been the school’s interim chief diversity officer twice in the past three years and was a finalist for the diversity and inclusion vice president role in 2019.

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The athletic department’s move is the latest in a string of initiatives the school and the conference hope will diversify its athletics programs while educating and promoting tolerance among its players. In June, the Big Ten launched an anti-racism coalition featuring athletes, coaches and administrators that seeks to combat hate and empower players to speak up about such topics. And earlier this month, Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley created a coalition to prepare and promote minority coaching candidates for advancement in the sport.

Now, Edmunds takes up a new mantle, one that is familiar to her but will present a challenge nonetheless.

“She is one who leads with care and excellence and communicates with empathy and candor,” athletic director Damon Evans said in a statement. “Cynthia will bring a strong and clear voice to our diversity and inclusion work and help set our department’s strategic vision in this important area.”