SUMMIT, NJ - Dr. Patricia Fontan, currently the Hispanic Community Liaison and Scientific Research Community Liaison for Summit Public Schools, has been appointed as the new co-chair of the Mayor’s Forum on Diversity. Appointed by Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson, Fontan will replace Susan Hairston, who has held the position since May, 2012.
The Mayor’s Forum on Diversity has existed in Summit since 1993, and was formerly known as Valuing Diversity. Former co-chairs have been Mayor Walter Long and Geof Warden, Mayor Jordan Glatt, and former Council Woman Cindy Martin.
Fontan has a Ph.D. in Biology from the National University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, and serves as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University.
The purpose of the Mayor’s Forum on Diversity is to ensure that Summit remains committed to a vision of being a community celebrating rich diversity where all members of the community are respected and welcomed.
The group has three aims: to bring together people from all sectors of the community to stimulate, encourage, and support others while implementing that vision in their own institutions and areas of influence; to promote opportunities for constructive dialogue in order to increase the understanding and sensitivity of citizens, and to provide a model for those times when controversy arises; and to cultivate deeper understanding of areas of concern, and support efforts by participants to respond to diversity issues in constructive ways.
“Susan Hairston has done an outstanding job as co-chair of the Mayor’s Forum on Diversity,” explains Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson. “Her dedication to its goals and values has established the committee as an integral part of the Summit community. I am looking forward to her continued role with the group and to the talent and leadership that Patricia Fontan will bring.”
The next meeting of the Mayor’s Forum on Diversity will take place September 17 at 8 a.m. in the Whitman Community Room at City Hall, which is located at 512 Springfield Avenue.
All interested members of the community are invited to participate.