The Diversity Center

History of the dCenter

Although the physical space of the dCenter was created in 2001, the story of diversity at PLU and its various incarnations is one spanning over 30 years. Since the 1970s, PLU has had personnel and financial resources dedicated to advancing issues of diversity and over the years, PLU has addressed multicultural issues in a variety of ways.

1970s

PLU sees an influx of African-American and Non-Traditional Students who eventually form the University’s first Black Student Union.

1980s

Student Peer Advisors hired for the first time, one for each major ethnic minority represented on campus (Black, Asian-Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American).

1988

MICA, the Multi-ethnic-International-Commuter-Adult student center is formed.  Headed by Christina Del Rosario, the center houses various resources on campus related to diversity, including Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).

That same year President William O. Rieke affirms the University’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity by establishing the Rieke Leadership Award.  Recipients of the award are men and women of any ethnic background who demonstrate their leadership in promoting racial and ethnic diversity at Pacific Lutheran University and beyond.

1992

Dr. Loren J. Anderson becomes the University’s new (and current) President, ushering in sweeping changes in university policy, eventually leading to PLU 2000, the University’s first long-term plan.

1993

ASPLU hires its first Diversity Director.

1994

The University Diversity Committee forms two years later in 1994 to address issues of diversity in the life of the University.

In line with the University Diversity Committee’s plans, two Diversity Classes (Line 5:  Perspectives on Diversity) Alternative Perspectives (A) and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (C) become required for graduation.

1996

MICA is rearranged into SIL, Student Involvement and Leadership, becoming the hub for campus programming and student leadership.

2000

First Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs is hired.  The primary focus for this position is programming diversity related events for students and the university.

2001

Fall of 2001, the new Diversity Center, located on the lower level of the University Center, was founded. Teal and turquoise paint, gently used television, comfortable chairs and a couch—all the ingredients for a new student-centered space.  The dCenter also brought a change in student leadership. Student Peer Advisors were replaced with student Diversity Advocates. The change redirected the focus of student leaders from working with specific ethnic groups to all PLU students.

2004

The First Annual Students of Color Retreat is held at Camp Burton.  Now a tradition, the retreat serves as the dCenter’s most popular outreach program centered purely on issues of race for minority students on campus.

2004-2006

The dCenter and SIL see changes in leadership.  Eva Frey Johnson, the center’s first associate director, is promoted to SILs director while programming coordinators step into her role in the dCenter.  Erin Dana is hired for the 04-05 year and Lisa Doyle, currently working at the University of Hawaii, replaces Dana for the 05-06 year.

2006

Angie Hambrick is hired as the University’s second Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs.  Since her hiring, the dCenter has seen a rise in activity, including a steady rise of Rieke Scholarship awards and continued programming.

Since the founding of the dCenter, PLU has been focused not only on issues of ethnicity, but issues of sexuality, socio-economics, issues of first generation college students, and issues of diversity as they relate to majority students.  The University and the dCenter are committed to a holistic approach, seeing the advocacy of diversity as an avenue for fostering social justice.  The dCenter is up-and-coming legendary.  Watch out.