Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Diversity Center holds open house

By Courtney Westlake

The new Diversity Center at UIS opened its doors on Tuesday, August 26 to welcome students, staff and faculty to visit and get acquainted with the center and its staff. With the welcoming also came the opportunity to introduce the new director of the Diversity Center, Dr. Clarice Ford.

Both events were extremely positive for the direction of the university, said Chancellor Richard Ringeisen.

"This is not just about the opening of the center and the welcoming of a distinguished new staff member; this is a symbol of what we're doing, what we're all about and where we're going," Ringeisen said. "Provost Harry Berman and I were talking earlier about the incredible change in diversity since we've been here and how fantastic it is. It's an extremely exciting time of the year."

Ringeisen gave a detailed introduction of Dr. Ford, who is the "first ever director of the first ever Diversity Center," Ringseisen said, and he took the time to name several of her many quality characteristics and accomplishments. She comes from Berry College and is well-known around country for her recruitment and retention of students, he said.

"But the thing I like best about Clarice is how incredibly important students are to her," he said. "We are a student-centered institution. A lot of nice things are happening at UIS, and we're very proud of those things, but the bottom line is how all of those things relate to how well we work with students."

Ringeisen encouraged all students to utilize the new center for any issue they are having trouble with or even if they just need a contact person to talk with.

"The purpose of the Diversity Center is to make everybody's life better," he said. "Our number one goal is to see every single student who comes to UIS graduate with a degree from UIS."

The open house had a great turnout of students, staff and faculty, and Ford said she was thrilled to meet everyone who stopped by.

"There are no words I can even share with you to explain my excitement about the open house today," she said. "We hope this will not be the last time you come to the Diversity Center. This is a place for you to have relationships with each other, and have relationships with the staff here. We look forward to you being here and utilizing us in whatever way possible."

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