History of the Center for Diversity, Justice, & Sustainability

2022 – The Diversity Center and the Center for Gender Equity join to become the Center for Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability to further align the centers’ values and shared intersectional work.

2018– Angie Hambrick is named the AVP for Diversity, Justice, & Sustainability

2014 -Provost Steve Starkovich appoints the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Justice and Sustainability to provide recommendations to the campus community on how best to achieve a diverse, just and sustainable campus.

2010 – PLU 2020 recommends “The university should strengthen and broaden the influence of the pathways to academic distinction on our students’ educational experience, should seek to incorporate the values of diversity, justice and sustainability into the pathways, and prepare periodic reports on the pathways that provide an evaluation of their implementation and success in meeting current needs.”

J-Term 2020 – Nicole Jordan hired as the 1st Coordinator 

September 2019 – Angie Hambrick named Interim Director of the Center for Gender Equity

May 14th 2019 – In partnership with the dCenter and ASPLU held the first Queer and Trans Self-Care event

February 2019 – PACE held a successful fundraiser

Spring 2019 – The Alger LGBTQ+ Scholarship established

Spring 2019 – SAPET changed their name to PACE (Peer advocacy and education)

September 2019 – Center for Gender Equity moves from under the Provost office to Student Life

J-Term 2018 – Talcott Broadhead hired as the 5th Center for Gender Equity Director

October 2018 – In partnership with the Karate Club held a 5-week self-defense class,

First Bi-Visibility day in the AUC, and The Inaugural Queering Gender; Trans and Gender Awesome Student Retreat

October 2017 – In partnership with the dCenter we programed LGBTQ+ history week for the first time at PLU

October 2017 – Center for Gender Equity partnered with the Bethel Boys and Girls Club to introduce bystander intervention and healthy relationships curriculum

September 2017 – Queer Connections Welcome Event established, Queer Student Retreat held on Campus for the first time, and Queer faculty and Staff coffee hour established

May 2nd 2017 – Inside OUT was awarded Educational Program of the Year

April 2017 – SAPET brought Sex Signals to campus a sexual assault prevention program offered on college campuses, Sex + held Sex Night! An evening of games and education about sexual health!

April 2017 – A month of sexual assault awareness programing across campus starting with pancakes for all campus, a Consent Poster campaign, RA boards with consent education, 1000 teal ribbons given out across campus

March 2017 – Successful USEED campaign completed funding the Elect Her program and the Sista Circle Leadership Retreat for the next two years

February 2017 – Inside OUT a psychoeducational skills class for queer-identified students was established

November 2016 – In partnership with dCenter the First Transgender Day of Remembrance Event was held

April 10th, 2016  – Sex + brought Author Lisa Wade to campus to talk about her newest book, American Hookup: The new Culture of Sex on Campus

March 17, 2016 – The Women’s Center changed its name to the Center for Gender Equity!

Spring 2016 – Tolu Taiwo hired as the first Outreach and Prevention Coordinator

March 9th, 2016 – Dawn Cuthbertson hired as the 2nd Gender-based Violence Advocate

Spring 2015 – Jennifer Warwick asked to serve on CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) Think Tank on Sexual Violence Prevention on College and University Campuses

Fall 2014 – Jonathan Yglesias hired as the 2nd Men’s Project Coordinator

2011 – Dr. Jennifer Smith hired as the 4th Women’s Center Director and as a member of WMGS faculty

Spring 2010 – Visit from the Assistant Attorney General Tony West as part of a national tour of 10 universities to showcase exceptional campus-based programs to address violence against women

2010 – Kandel-Oleksak Scholarship established

Fall 2006 – Women’s Center moves to upper campus on 121st St.

2005 – Women’s Center is awarded $200,000 grant from the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Jennifer Warwick is hired as the Victim Advocate Coordinator and Jonathan Grove is hired as the Men Against Violence Coordinator

2004 – PLU alum Bobbi Hughes hired as 3rd Director of Women’s Center

Spring 2003 – Provost James Pense attempts to turn the Women’s Center into toilets for the Athletic Department

Spring 1999 -The first training of the Sexual Assault Prevention Education Team (SAPET) takes place at the Women’s Center

Fall 1997 – Move to blue house on lower campus next to athletic fields

1997 – First Inspirational Women’s Banquet held

1995 – Judy Mladineo hired as the 2nd Women’s Center Director

1992 – Women’s Center moves to a house near upper campus & Becky Frehse, Professor of Art, is given course release to serve as the first Women’s Center director

Spring 1990 – “Women’s Center of Pacific Lutheran University” established in East Campus in April; Women’s Studies minor passed by faculty that same month

Diversity Center History

Although the physical space of the dCenter was created in 2001, the story of diversity and social justice 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 social justice issues in a variety of ways.


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


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


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.


ASPLU hires its first Diversity Director.


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 (Perspectives on Diversity) Alternative Perspectives (A) and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (C) become required for graduation.


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


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


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.


The Inaugural 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 and sense of belonging on campus.  Following the success of the SOC Retreat, The Queer Student Retreat is developed.


The dCenter and SIL see changes in leadership.  Eva Frey Johnson, the Center’s first Associate Director, is promoted to SIL’s Director.  Erin Dana is hired for the 04-05 year as The Diversity Center Programs Coordinator and Lisa Doyle replaces Dana for the 05-06 year.


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.  She expanded the scope of dCenter programming and services to include sexuality, socio-economics, issues of first generation college students, and issues of diversity as they relate to all students, faculty, and staff.


In 2012, The Diversity Center expanded its work further to include Commuter Students, Transfer Students, and Veterans and hired Programs Coordinator, Nicole Juliano.  Under Nicole’s leadership, The Diversity Center established two new student spaces – The Cave and Kreidler Commuter Lounges.  Nicole has also worked on peer diversity and social justice education and is an additional support person for diversity and social justice initiatives on campus.


The Diversity Center becomes a stand alone department with the Director reporting directly to the VP of Student Life.


Sustainability Integration and the management of the PLU Community Garden and DJS Fee transitions to The Diversity Center


Opening of new spaces DJS Lounge and Classroom