Staff Who Inspire: Darryl Gardner

Darryl GardnerDarryl Gardner's love for Wayne State is the result of a lot of things- being a first-generation black student, coming from Detroit, he found a home at the university where he was able to grow academically. He found so much opportunity and had lots of transformative experiences as a student. That turned into a desire to work for the university to create opportunity for all students of underrepresented backgrounds. He now serves as the Director of the Office for Student Success and Operational Excellence within the Office of the Provost.

"Giving back is a no brainer to me. One day, I'd like to endow a scholarship for students with similar backgrounds to mine."

Dr. Gardner came to WSU as a freshman in the fall of 1999 from Detroit's Cody High School, with hopes of being an engineer. He didn't have the academic background to pursue that curriculum, so he started in remedial mathematics in the Emerging Scholars Program. He graduated in 2004, and became a mathematics support coordinator for the university, simultaneously working towards a Masters in Education.  After a brief stint away from Wayne State, Dr. Gardner returned to work for the Rising Scholars Program, where he was a full-time lecturer and lead support coordinator. That evolved into taking on the directorship of the Emerging Scholars and Rising Scholars programs, during which the programs eliminated a lot of education disparities between all students and minority students. He began to pursue his PhD during that time, wanting to further research and broaden the innovation the programs engaged in. Now the Director of the Office for Student Success and Operational Excellence within the Office of the Provost, Dr. Gardner's unit was developed to create more strategy and operationalize student success. He works to build robust operational data to monitor student movement towards graduation.

Involved with the Organization of Black Alumni (OBA), Dr. Gardner donated to the Wayne Black Business Student Association on Giving Day 2020, a group for which OBA offered matching funds.

Dr. Gardner counts his proudest accomplishment as cofounding the Network, a learning community within the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement. "The young men we've been able to serve have found success at this institution, and I look forward to expanding that effort and serving more students."

Return to the main Inspire from Within page