ORG CHART: Departures in DEI and HR, New Leader at UC Immigrant Legal Services Center



  • Lorena Oropeza, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and College of Letters and Science
  • Rachel Jean-Baptiste, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and College of Letters and Science
  • Christine Lovely, Human Resources
  • Aidín Castillo, UC Immigrant Legal Services Center
  • María Blanco, UC Immigrant Legal Services Center

Lorena Oropeza and Rachel Jean-Baptiste
Lorena Oropeza, left, and Rachel Jean-Baptiste

Renetta Tull, vice chancellor, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, announced the departure of “two inspiring leaders ... phenomenal historians and DEI warriors” from her office:

Lorena Oropeza, associate vice chancellor for academic diversity since 2020, is leaving UC Davis, where she is a professor in the Department of History, College of Letters and Science, to become a professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley, while maintaining various collaborations throughout UC.

Tull, in her For Your Information newsletter June 2, described Oropeza the DEI leader as “a champion for moving our HSI mission forward,” referring to UC Davis’ Hispanic-Serving Institution initiative. Her efforts included overseeing the publication of the HSI Implementation Task Force Report and the hiring of the university’s first HSI director, Lina Mendez.

Her portfolio also included CAMPOS and CAMPSSAH (Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science, and Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives in Social Sciences, Arts and the Humanities); and Advancing Faculty Diversity retention grants from the UC Office of the President.

“Lorena brought a wonderful combination of passion and a kind spirit to her work in DEI,” Tull said. “She started during the pandemic in the summer of 2020, and has been dedicated and committed to enhancing equity, especially for current faculty (in collaboration with Academic Affairs) and future faculty (in collaboration with Graduate Studies).”

Rachel Jean-Baptiste, inaugural faculty director of DEI’s Institute for Diversity, Equity and Advancement, or IDEA, starting in 2021, will become associate dean for University of California Study Abroad, effective July 1, while retaining her faculty position as an associate professor in the Department of History, College of Letters and Science

“Dr. Jean-Baptiste and the team at IDEA have worked tirelessly to get IDEA established, and we sincerely thank her for her leadership,” Tull said in her newsletter.

Read Vice Chancellor Tull’s newsletter in its entirety.

Christine Lovely headshot
Christine Lovely

Christine Lovely, chief human resources officer since 2018, has accepted a new role as vice president and chief human resources officer at Cornell University, effective Aug. 30.

“UC Davis is my alma mater and leading Human Resources here has been an honor and the joy of my career,” she said in announcing her departure to HR. “I am very proud of the work we have put in together and personally fulfilled by the impact we've made at UC Davis — especially these last two years.”

In her remaining two months, Lovely intends to fulfill her interim co-lead position for Finance, Operations and Administration, to which she was appointed following the retirement of Vice Chancellor Kelly Ratliff.

Lovely will also support the immediate nationwide search for new chief human resources officer, while wrapping up some critical HR projects focused on the staff experience at UC Davis.

Aidín Castillo and María Blanco headshots
Aidín Castillo, left, and María Blanco

UC Davis alumna Aidín Castillo, immigration attorney and immigrants’ rights advocate, has been named the new executive director of the UC Davis-based UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, succeeding the founding executive director, María Blanco, who is retiring.

The center, which opened in 2014, serves the immigration-related legal needs of undocumented and immigrant students at all UC campuses except Berkeley. Kevin Johnson, dean of the UC Davis School of Law, praised Blanco’s work: “The center she envisioned and formed out of whole cloth is a model being duplicated at colleges and universities across the country.” She was the staff recipient in this year's round of Chancellor's Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community.

Castillo is scheduled to start as the executive director June 27. She is leaving her position as the directing attorney of Oakland’s Centro Legal de La Raza Immigrants’ Rights Program, where her responsibilities have included administering and managing immigration legal services, and supervising staff members, including 16 attorneys.

In previous roles as a Centro Legal supervising and staff attorney, Castillo managed a large caseload in providing legal representation to detained and nondetained immigrants. Before Centro Legal, Castillo worked as an attorney for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and as a fellow with the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.

As an undergraduate at UC Davis (Bachelor of Arts, political science and history, 2007), she co-founded Scholars Promoting Education, Access and Knowledge, or S.P.E.A.K., the campus’s first support and advocacy group for undocumented students. While in law school (Juris Doctor, 2011), she participated in the Immigration Law Clinic, co-chaired the La Raza (now Latinx) Law Students Association and received the Lorenzo Patiño Public Service Award and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund scholarship.

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Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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