College names new Elma Lewis leader

by Laura King / Beacon Staff • February 25, 2016

Emerson named Judy Pryor-Ramirez as the new executive director of the Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning, and Research. Pryor-Ramirez will begin transitioning to the college throughout this semester, and will officially take on the title in July, according to a school-wide email sent last week by Sylvia Spears, vice president for diversity and inclusion.

The Elma Lewis Center uses Emerson’s focus on communication and art to improve the local community, according to its mission statement. Kelly Bates founded the center in 2013, and formerly held the executive director position. Bates is now chief of staff and democracy strategy at the Interaction Institute for Social Change, and left the college last spring.

Pryor-Ramirez has done civic engagement-related work with institutions including the  University of Richmond, City University of New York, Columbia University, and the Brooklyn Historical Society, according to the email. Most recently, she worked at the Eugene Lang College at The New School as the director of civic engagement and social justice. There, she used the college’s resources to work with nonprofit organizations, public schools, and housing communities.