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Biography

Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D.Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D.
President
Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia

Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston is a professional in higher education with over 30 years of experience in higher education. Dr. Adams-Gaston, “Dr. J,” as she was affectionately named by students, is a scholar-practitioner engaged in impacting the success of hundreds of thousands of collegiate scholars. Her experience in higher education is described as wide-ranging, comprehensive and intensive:  In leadership roles, extensive leadership experience in virtually every area of an institution, direction and participation in hundreds of partnerships, programs and new ways of facilitating learning and success at the collegiate level.

Dr. Adams-Gaston maintains a strong commitment to building meaningful, productive relationships that lay the foundation for collaboration, community-building, progress and success. She is dedicated to making decisions that are guided by data, informed by vision and responsive to the needs of the community. Dr. J upholds an achievement-oriented approach to seeking excellence, producing genuine and robust support for programs and efforts to advance an academic community in the areas of diversity and inclusion. She is a champion for increasing success, inspiring innovation and advancing research.

As senior vice president at The Ohio State University, Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston led the operations of the Office of Student Life. She was part of the university’s senior administration, which developed and implemented the university strategic plan. In the Office of Student Life, Dr. J had leadership responsibility for over 40 operations, affecting over 66,000 students' learning and development outside of the classroom. The staff included 1,100 staff, 5,500 students and 70 graduate assistants. She had responsibility for numerous student services and programs, including residence halls, food services, the Ohio Union and student activities, student leadership and philanthropy, counseling, career direction, recreational sports, health care and wellness programs, disability services, the Student Life Multicultural Center, off-campus student services, student conduct, student advocacy and crisis intervention. Under her leadership, Student Life was honored for five consecutive years as one of the Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

With her selection in 2009, Dr. Adams-Gaston became Ohio State’s first female African-American Vice President for Student Life. She came to Ohio State from the University of Maryland, where she served in a variety of administrative and faculty positions. Her experience included serving at University of Maryland, College Park as associate dean of academic affairs, faculty member, executive director of the Career Center, equity administrator, psychologist and first UMCP African-American assistant athletic director (Division 1). She also served as an Athletic Certification Peer Reviewer for the NCAA. Trained as a psychologist, Dr. Adams-Gaston spent more than 25 years in private practice. She also served as a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. She was an affiliate assistant professor at Ohio State and taught Theories of Professional Counseling, a requirement of Ohio State’s Higher Education and Student Affairs master’s program. She has served as a consultant in many areas including Consulting Psychologist, Oak Hill Youth Institution (Washington, D.C.) and Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (Mitchellville, Iowa).

Dr. Adams-Gaston is the recipient of numerous awards: The Pillar of the Profession from NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education; the Diamond Honoree Award, the highest honor of the American College Personnel Association, which recognized her transformative contributions to the field; Alumnus of Distinction-Hall of Fame by the University of Dubuque; the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the Outstanding Woman’s Award from the University of Maryland. She has been inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa Society, Mortar Board Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. 

Dr. Adams-Gaston serves on The Board of Trustees, University of Dubuque; Board of Governors, the Association of Public Land-grant Universities; Board of Governors, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; Board of the Campus Partners for Community Redevelopment; Board of Directors, American Red Cross, Central Ohio; NASPA Foundation Board; and the Board of the YWCA Columbus. 

Dr. Adams-Gaston earned a bachelor's degree in biology, psychology and general science, at the University of Dubuque; a master's degree in psychology at Loras College; and a Ph.D. in psychology at Iowa State University. 

Dr. Adams-Gaston considers her greatest achievement to be her family. She hails from Washington, D.C. She is married to Dmitri Gaston, MCRP, from New Orleans, Louisiana. He served as a planner and management analyst for the city of Washington, D.C. for over 25 years. He is currently a planner for The Ohio State University. They have three adult children, and they are extremely proud of them.