In May 2003 Dr. William Harvey, the then Vice President of the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity (CAREE) at the American Council on Education, invited a number of chief diversity officers from higher education and business sectors to a meeting at the Ohio State University, Ohio. At the conclusion of the meeting, participants indicated their interest to continue conversation regarding the many issues covered and, more specifically, regarding the call for a national association for the chief diversity officers.
Realizing the need for a national forum to continue the discussion of professional standards to guide the nascent diversity profession, both Dr. William Harvey and Dr. Steve O. Michael (Vice Provost for Diversity and Academic Iniatives, Kent State University) kept working on a plan to bring the chief diversity officers together. Dr. Michael took up the task of developing a database and a listserv for chief diversity officers. The first database contained 30 names representing 30 institutions. In less than six months, the database grew to 120 names and institutions. Given the level of interest, Dr. Harvey requested that Dr. Michael organize a meeting of the chief diversity officers at the ACE's Educating All of One Nation's Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting took place on October 10, 2005. Thirty five chief diversity officers were invited but over 80 chief and senior diversity officers showed up at the meeting. Paralleled to this effort, a few diversity officers on the east coast had been meeting to discuss similar agenda and upon hearing of the national effort to establish an association, Dr. Cookie Newsom of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, submitted the names of the diversity officers on her list to become part of the national initiative.
The listserv and database expanded rapidly from that point. Subcommittees were established to take care of activities to form the Association. Using the listserv, the name of the association was determined. While the need and vision of chief diversity officers are the primary concerns of the association, all diversity officers, especially senior diversity officers are eligible for membership. In Spring 2006, the Caretaker Committee met at the ACE Conference in Los Angeles to further solidify plans toward the formation of the association. Under the leadership of Diana Cordova, the Director of CAREE, ACE hosted the Caretaker Committee's meeting in Washington, DC on June 29-30, 2006 where the bylaws were ratified, temporary Executive Officers were appointed, and the first Annual Conference Planning Committee was established. NADOHE held its first Annual National Conference on February 12-13, 2007 in Washington, DC.