SPOTLIGHT: Iris Richardson

Penn State University Police and Public Safety (UPPS) announces the appointment of Iris Richardson as the department’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion.  


In this newly added position, Richardson will be committed to developing overall diversity, equity, and inclusion programming for UPPS while also serving the Penn State community. Her office will be located at the department’s headquarters at University Park and she will serve the department’s employees and Penn State community at 22 campuses.  


“We are excited to have Richardson join the University Police and Public Safety Leadership Team,” said Charlie Noffsinger, assistant vice president of UPPS. “Creating this position was a proactive decision because we remain committed to fostering a positive relationship with the community while also further developing internal programming and training.” 


Richardson’s responsibilities will include: 

  • Providing overall direction and guidance, planning, policy input, strategic communication and technical and internal support for University Police and Public Safety around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives;  

  • Serving on internal University committees, including the Finance and Business Strategic Priority Team on Advancing Diversity and Inclusion;  

  • Representing UPPS on external committees in the community such as Community & Campus in Unity (CCU);  

  • Acting as the liaison between UPPS and concerned public or committees;  

  • Identifying training needs around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for police officers, staff members and UPPS leadership across the Commonwealth; 

  • Developing and implementing communications, programming, and training strategies to support the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion message; and 

  • Engaging with employees to impact the campuses and communities they serve across the Commonwealth.  


“I am looking forward to building great relationships within UPPS and external partners. I am also excited about the opportunities to contribute to our mission and develop new initiatives within the department,” Richardson said.  


Richardson previously served as the associate director of Student Affairs at Penn State Mont Alto where she directedsupervised, and administered the student personnel and residence life functions for the residence hall community. She also implemented a comprehensive residence life program including strategic planning.  


Richardson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Penn State Berks and a master’s degree in counseling in higher education/student affairs from West Chester University. She grew up in Philadelphia and enjoys spending time with friends and family and traveling in her spare time.