back to news June 10, 2019

Deidre Hamlar named associate director of Ohio State’s African American and African Studies Community Extension Center

The Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) has appointed Deidre Hamlar associate director of Ohio State's African American and African Studies Community Extension Center.

A native of the Near East Side of Columbus, Hamlar is a lawyer, business administrator and independent curator. Since 1995, she has worked nationally with schools, nonprofits, and large and small businesses to help them meet organizational, equity and diversity goals, including seven years as director of diversity for the Columbus Academy.

“The associate directorship is truly a dream appointment," says Hamlar, "I am looking forward to working with the university and the community and stretching the possibilities of the center as far and wide as they can reach.”

Notes Simone Drake, Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor and chair of AAAS, "I am excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Deidre and learn from her extensive experience in community engagement, program development and the nonprofit realm." Drake, who also serves as director of the Community Extension Center, continues, "I met her a number of years ago when we both were consulting on educational grant writing for a local nonprofit, and I immediately admired her collaborative spirit and commitment to social justice. I look forward to the new academic year and the wide array of events and programs we have planned and are continuing to develop for the African American and African Studies Community Extension Center."

Hamlar spearheaded a yearlong committee process to a successful proposal to the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to repurpose two remaining Poindexter Village buildings as a cultural center and to develop a museum-quality exhibition highlighting the culture and legacy of the community. In addition, Hamlar co-led a study for AAAS to determine the feasibility of expanding the footprint of the Community Extension Center.

“Four years ago, I did not imagine I’d return to my roots and be in a position to make a positive impact through The Ohio State University as envisioned in that report,” Hamlar said. 

Hamlar holds a BA in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a JD from Howard University Law School. She began her early practice of law with the National Labor Relations Board in Boston and Washington, D.C., and most recently served as contract program counsel for the Legal Services Corporation in Washington D.C. She is a member of the Jefferson Avenue Center Board and a founding member of Matriots Ohio. Her passion for art led her to Minneapolis, California, and back home again, where she now co-curates a major exhibition of Aminah Robinson’s works opening in 2020 at the Columbus Museum of Art.

About the Community Extension Center (CEC)

The CEC catalyzes outreach and engagement opportunities for AAAS, the College of Arts and Sciences and Ohio State as a whole. Located on the Near East Side in a community whose residents are predominantly of African ancestry, the center is uniquely positioned as a part of Ohio State’s land-grant mission to fulfill the legal and moral obligations to educate and enhance the quality of life for Ohioans and to address the most pressing issues confronting the citizens of Ohio.
First opened in 1972 on Ohio Avenue, the CEC moved to 905 Mount Vernon Ave. in 1985 after the Ohio General Assembly allocated state capital improvement funds to build the current center. Over its 47-year history, the center has offered targeted programming for the Ohio State and greater Columbus community — including lectures, courses and scholarly conversations.