In August, Luis A. Piñero will enter a select and esteemed cohort of university employees as he marks 40 years of continuous service at UW–Madison.
Piñero began his career at UW on Aug. 16, 1982, in the former Office of Affirmative Action and Compliance. In the 40 years since, he has worn many hats at UW, including assistant vice chancellor for workforce equity and diversity and Title IX coordinator.
For the last three years, he has served as the senior special assistant for workforce equity, diversity education and outreach in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement (DDEEA), where he consults on issues relating to workplace discrimination and harassment, hostile and intimidating behavior, and professional development and training. He also serves as deputy Title IX coordinator, supporting UW’s commitment to creating and maintaining a campus community free of sexual harassment and violence.
On June 30, Piñero’s colleagues in the DDEEA surprised him with a special celebration during the division’s annual staff retreat.
“Luis has mentored countless students, faculty and staff, including myself, and has been a rock, a solid foundation that helped propel many of us to the very fulfilling careers we currently enjoy,” said Dr. LaVar J. Charleston, deputy vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and director of the division, as he presented Piñero with a watch and an award amid a standing ovation from DDEEA employees.
“For me, our on-on-ones have become like coaching sessions — or counseling sessions — as he advises with a calm and steady hand, often counterbalancing my excitement and passion … Whenever and wherever I need Luis, he is always there,” Charleston said.
“Thank you for this unexpected honor,” Piñero said as he reflected on his career, wherein he has grappled with some of the university’s most pressing and sensitive issues.
During his years working on campus, faculty, staff and students have brought forward concerns focusing on campus climate, equity and the work and learning environments. Over time, the university has allocated more resources to these priority areas, more granular and reliable data has emerged, and innovative research is being conducted in various academic disciplines.
Piñero said he has enjoyed collaborating with colleagues across campus and emphasized that what makes UW–Madison a great place is the people.
“The people who are here — that’s what motivates me. It’s the commitment to the students, faculty and staff.”