On Tuesday, October 29, students gathered in the Dean’s Heritage Room where Dr. LaShonda Gurley spoke to the multicultural planning committee (MPC). This meeting would be her last before her official departure for another institution on November 4. However, she did not know that coworker, Dianne Ricks planned a surprise farewell party following.
Both MPC members and dimension award scholars gathered to partake in snacks, write a quick message, and wish her the best of luck. Gurley spoke at length about reaching back to help the ones that we leave behind and teaching the younger students to continue. Near the end of the party, she said, “Colleges all over are getting rid of their multicultural centers. Fight to keep it.”
The multicultural center is the hub of multicultural development on campus. Each year, the center provides Dimension Award scholarships to incoming students from a minority racial or ethnic background as well as creating events to foster connections to the campus. In addition, the center offers snacks and a quiet place to study for those students during finals week. Once a month, the Office of Multicultural Development presents a Cultural Conversation Hour where students and faculty discuss “ideas of multiculturalism and diversity in greater society.” November’s topic, Native American Heritage Month, will be held on Tuesday, November 19 at 11am in the English Chapel.
Dr. Gurley has been a part of this campus for the last seven years and her loss will surely be felt across campus. As the Director of Multicultural Development and a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, she touched many students’ lives. She ran the Cultural Conversation Hours and advised the dimension award scholars diversity-based groups on campus.
In the interim, Dr. Adrianne Thompson-Bradshaw is stepping in to help the multicultural planning community continue their work in her stead. The multicultural center will also remain open to all who need their services.