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Dr. ReChard Peel
Director of the Black Cultural Center

Dr. ReChard L. Peel Jr is an experienced higher education professional with nearly a decade of experience supporting and creating initiatives for underrepresented students in higher education. He has been at Vanderbilt for 7 years, starting in 2017 as Program Coordinator in the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity (SCSJI). More recently he has served as the Assistant Director of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, where he has led the BCC AmbassaDores and coordinated campus collaborations with over 20 campus partners. During his career at Vanderbilt, he has also served as a Vanderbilt Posse Mentor and advisor of numerous student organizations.

Prior to working at Vanderbilt, ReChard worked at the University of Notre Dame as a coordinator of Multicultural Student programs and services. He has received degrees in African American Studies and Higher Education Leadership from Purdue University, Grand Valley State University, and most recently, Indiana State University. ReChard has continuously showcased passion for higher education, student success, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. He also has a deep appreciation for Black history and Black culture. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. He is an avid reader, writer, a spoken word poet, and visual artist who loves to use creativity to highlight Black identity and culture.


Veleashia Byrd
Associate Director of the Black Cultural Center

Veleashia (“Vee”) Byrd is a native of Paducah, Kentucky, and received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky. She has worked in Higher Education for the past 15 years at Vanderbilt University, the University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University, the University of Florida, and Florida State College at Jacksonville.

Her professional career began in 2005 as a program coordinator with the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University.  She later went on to serve as the Director of the Martin Luther King Cultural Center at the University of Kentucky; Assistant Director of Student Development at Western Kentucky University; Director of Black Affairs at the University of Florida; and Associate Director of Diversity & Social Change at Florida State College at Jacksonville. She has developed leadership conferences, collegiate enrichment trainings, and coordinated numerous program initiatives centered around diversity and inclusion with a specific commitment to improving the culture and environment for marginalized students. She is currently writing a book called The Blueprint for CLASS which is a guide for first-generation African American students on how to navigate the collegiate environment.

She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and she thoroughly enjoys working with students to help them reach and maximize their fullest potential. She embraces the moniker “Moma Vee,” a name affectionately given by the many students whose lives she has forever positively impacted.


Sidney Marshall
Program Coordinator

Sidney Marshall serves as the Program Coordinator at Vanderbilt’s Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. A native of Manchester, Jamaica, she moved to the United States to take up a track and field scholarship at Clemson University in 2016. While at Clemson, she was a member of many student-athlete-centered organizations that focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging – she was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; she served as the representative for all International student-athletes; she was a Clemson Community Outreach Ambassador and most notably, she was a member of the cohort of female track and field student-athletes who successfully petitioned against her university for discontinuing the men’s track and field program— a program that housed 3% of the Black male population on campus, at the time. After winning that lawsuit, not only did her university retain the men’s track and field program but was mandated to add two new female sports programs per Title 9 policy.

From this experience, Sidney decided to enroll at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to complete her master’s degree in public policy and administration. While completing her studies, she served as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Frieson Black Cultural Center where she honed and expanded her skill set surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging before beginning her full-time career at Vanderbilt. She also had the pleasure of serving as an Assistant Academic Counselor for Football and Track and Field student-athletes during her tenure at UT. In her free time, she enjoys all things fitness! Most importantly, she is a proud Jamaican who never misses the opportunity to celebrate her heritage and visit home to be with family. From all her experiences, she believes that nothing is too small to know, and nothing is too big to attempt.


Jackie Grant
Administrative Assistant for the Black Cultural Center

Jackie Grant joined the staff of the Black Cultural Center in 2008, after relocating from Florida to Tennessee because of her husband’s job.  Before Vanderbilt, Jackie served in various administrative positions with executives in legal and corporate organizations as well as in higher education.  Coming from an Air Force family, Jackie has lived in six different states in the US as well as in the Philippines and Japan.  She is a devoted Christian, wife, and mother of three young adults.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with friends and family.