Alum NPR VP for USA

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NPR alumna Whitney Maddox VP 2023.jpg

ASU Alumna Whitney Maddox, New NPR Vice President for U.S.A.

By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU

National Public Radio (NPR) has promoted an Alabama State University alumna, Whitney Maddox (Class of 2009), to the position of vice president of the Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) division for the venerable national news media and entertainment radio entity. Maddox’s promotion comes just two years after she was hired as the manager of NPR’s DEI department at its corporate headquarters in Washington, D.C.   

Maddox said that working for NPR is both exciting and challenging. 

"Working for National Public Radio is a dream-come-true for me, and it is most meaningful, too, in that I work closely with shaping the company's strategy for diversity, equity and inclusion, which is important and meaningful work for the company and for me personally," said Maddox. "When I first began work here, I was involved in providing leadership for a two-year focus on improving the work experience of women of color and our success in this endeavor is why my promotion feels like a win for both me and for all women of color at NPR." 


The Walker County, Ala., native explained that Alabama State University put her on the track that led her to be successful in each position she has held – from Georgetown University to NPR. 

"I ultimately understood how to be myself by attending an HBCU as grounded in fine academics and where so much important civil and human rights history was initiated and made, as is the fact for The Alabama State University," Maddox said by phone. "Alabama State allowed me to grow as a person because of what I was taught by its faculty and in studying at an HBCU. At ASU, I learned what it meant to be Black, which allowed me to find joy in my blackness," Maddox said. "Not only was ASU a great place to receive an excellent academic education, but in being with so many other people who looked like me, ASU allowed me the freedom to finally be comfortable in who I am."


Maddox graduated from ASU with a degree in communications, and before joining NPR in 2021, she was employed at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade, holding various positions, including working with faculty, staff and students on issues involving diversity and racism. She also was Georgetown's assistant director for the office of Leadership Development and Racial Justice and oversaw its initiatives in that arena from 2017-2021 as part of Georgetown's Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service.  

In addition to her bachelor's degree from ASU, Maddox obtained two master's degrees from Georgetown: one in Journalism and the other in Communication, Culture and Technology. 


Maddox, in her position as vice president, leads a twice-monthly company-wide anti-racism workshop with more than 1,000 staff members. She also conducts other leadership and diversity training in support of more than 250 NPR member stations across the nation.  


Maddox shared that the staff and leadership at NPR are a natural fit for her and that they have embraced her both professionally and emotionally. 

"I would not be the leader that I am today if it were not for those at NPR who embrace, trust and teach me," Maddox said. "I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my supervisor, Keith Woods; who led the way for diversity in public radio, and he and what he has imparted to me are among the main reasons that I will succeed as vice president."

In a release on Maddox's promotion, Woods praised the new vice president for her leadership and influence. 

"Since joining us nearly three years ago, Whitney has, in many ways, changed who we are and how we see ourselves as a company," said Woods, who serves as NPR's chief diversity officer. "This promotion recognizes Whitney's increasing influence across NPR and the larger network and her emergent influence on the company's direction and that of our member stations." 


NPR's rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its member organizations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local member stations (at ASU - WVAS FM 90.7). PR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast are available for screened speakers. Get more information at and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, LinkedIn, Threads, and Instagram. 

ASU news media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.