Revolution to Evolution:
An Interview with Emile Pitre

Sova, in partnership with Ambassador Stories, conducted a series of in-depth interviews with former University of Washington’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) Associate Vice President, Emile Pitre. The interview series explored the personal account of Mr. Pitre’s lifelong work and decades of activism as captured in his new book Revolution to Evolution, The Story of the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity at the University of Washington.

Through engaging conversation and firsthand accounts, the interview covers three main themes that are also prominent in the book: Roots, Inspiration and Founding of the Black Student Union, and Reflection on Where the Movement is Headed.

The hope is to illuminate a series of retrospective lessons and reflections that can inform and empower a new generation of forward-thinking leaders.

Sova is honored to have interviewed Emile Pitre and learn from his wisdom and justice-filled lived experience.

"Revolution to Evolution is a story of how a minority program progressed from the margins of an educational institution to become a significant contributor to the educational outcomes of the greater student body with reach far beyond the campus. The OMA&D community’s steadfast attention to student-focused relevancy paved a path for programs that are considered national models, that have garnered countless achievements and awards, and that have elevated OMA&D to the distinction of a program of firsts. Revolution to Evolution brings the program’s history to the table and makes the case not only for why the program still exists after more than a half a century, but also for why its continuing into the next is imperative."


Emile Pitre is a legend. In this first installment, Pitre sits with Sova’s interview team to discuss how it all started for him and speak about his experiences that span five decades and the contributions and historic milestones he personally witnessed.

Collective Wisdom

In the second installment, Pitre answers questions and discusses collective power and wisdom about how social protests, action on a university campus, and working together with other campus leaders was key to larger scale action.

Black Student Union (BSU)

In this installment, Pitre discusses the immense power of student organizing and student-led organizations like BSU, MEChA, AIM, and other key leaders of color. Sova asks Pitre to “talk about the genesis and inspiration for the BSU which has served as a model to other institutions around the country.” Listen as he shares nuggets about his BSU experience to inspire practitioners, administrators, and faculty.

List of Demands

Building on the previous installment, this segment details the appeal of the young leaders of color who were building on a larger national movement and demanding key changes to university policies, faculty, admissions, and more. Pitre shares about leaders who insisted the UW administration address concerns over access, support, and systematic disenfranchisement.

The Next 50

Pitre talks about the next 50 years of social justice work, the work ahead and DEI efforts still needed, social protest, and current and future-facing university responsibilities. He cautions that efforts must continue and that it is everyone’s responsibility to continue the good work of access, equity, and student success.

Revolution to Evolution

In this final interview installment of our six-part interview series with Pitre, he details his experience as a student and as a professional.

Revolution to Evolution

The Story of the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity at the University of Washington

Revolution to Evolution maps the journey of the University of Washington’s OMA&D from its inception as a list of demands presented by a dedicated group of students to its status as an internationally recognized model for university programs.