In the book, “Leadership Jazz”, Max DePree draws on the musical genre of jazz to explain his sense of what lies at the core of leadership; what you hear and what you feel; connecting one’s voice with one’s touch. Diane Hightower maintains a voice that centers on how student affairs translates to student advocacy, and a touch that focuses on student development, and the relationships and experiences shared as each student grows and develops. 

Along with her siblings, Ms. Hightower co-founded Hightower Scholars, Inc. (HSI) in 1999 where she serves as the Executive Director. The mission of HSI is to provide academic support and college readiness programming for students of color from western Pennsylvania. She is also very involved in community engaged learning as exemplified by her volunteer service on the YWCA Westmoreland County Board and the Peoples Library Board, and her special project management work with Westmoreland Community Action. 

Most recently, Dean Hightower was appointed the chief student affairs officer at Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC); and she also served as the Dean of Student Support Services at DePauw University, the Director for the Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy at Chatham University; the Dean of Judicial Affairs at Washington & Jefferson College; the Special Assistant to the President and Director of Multicultural Affairs at Lake Forest College; and the Assistant Director of Lincoln University’s Master of Human Services Program. Her career began at the New Kensington Campus of Pennsylvania State University. 

Dean Hightower earned her bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. Later she pursued a Master's Degree and a Doctorate in the Higher Education program at Pennsylvania State University, received a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh, and was awarded a Citrin Leadership Program certificate while a member of the WCCC senior staff. 

Diane enjoys research, planning, teaching, and has a passion for racquetball that she tackles each week in a local league.