Penn Year in Review

Top 11 Moments for Diversity at PENN in 2011

-Cecilia Ramirez C’05 SPP ’10

This has been a big year for diversity and multiculturalism at Penn. In honor of the New Year that is upon us, I decided to do a little “Year in Review ” of my own.

Here are eleven of my preferred moments of 2011 at Penn:

#11.  La Casa Latina Receives Biggest Donation- La Casa Latina: The Center for Hispanic Excellence receives a $20,000 donation. This was a big deal this year because this became the center’s largest donation in history. The generous contribution was made my alumna, Ruth Colp-Haber, C’81, WG’85, and will help strengthen student programming, and hopefully provide more events featuring delicious Latin food!  🙂

Denzel Washington at Penn's Commencement 2011

#10.  Denzel Washington Comes to Penn- So maybe this didn’t do anything for multiculturalism at Penn per se, but I sure was excited to see one of my favorite actors be selected as Penn’s Commencement speaker- Denzel Washington- a talented, inspirational, and accomplished actor and philanthropist, who happens to be a black man- bonus!

UPAAN Celebrates a Decade

#9.  Asian Alumni Network Celebrates a Decade- The University of Pennsylvania Asian Alumni Network (UPAAN) celebrated its tenth anniversary this past Homecoming. The celebration featured their 7th annual mentoring exchange and a delicious luncheon that welcomed student, alumni, staff, and faculty from across the years.

#8.  Makuu (Also) Celebrates a Decade – Makuu Black Cultural Center, one of my favorite places on campus, also celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011. Their elegant evening celebration featured speakers, performances, and remarks from Dr. Amy Gutmann.

#7.  The ARCH Receives $15M- The Arts, Research and Culture House (ARCH), home to the Asian, Black, and Latino cultural resource centers on campus, received its largest donation in history as well- 15 million buckaroos! The donation will be used to renovate the entire building, providing the cultural resource centers with state-of-the-art offices and upgraded meeting space- and an elevator! Yup, an elevator 🙂 Renovations begin in the summer of 2012.

#6.  LGBT Colors Project Launches- The first issue of LGBT Colors Project, Penn’s first student publication targeting queer students of color, was launched at Penn in December. The ground-breaking magazine publishes articles, essays, poems, fiction, and interviews to provide visibility and support to the diverse and talented queer student community at Penn. Awesome!

#5.  Two Students of Color Win Marshall Scholarships- Kristin Hall W’ 11 C’11 and G.J. Melendez-Torres NU’11 W’11 were each awarded the prestigious scholarship to study at the world-renown University of Oxford in the UK. What a fantastic accomplishment!

#4.  Penn Spectrum hits the road! In 2010, Penn hosted its first alumni conference focusing on the Asian, Black, Latino, LGBT and Native alumni populations—Penn Spectrum. This successful conference took to the road last spring, starting in the Big Apple, then DC, and Atlanta; next stops include Miami, LA and Puerto Rico! Hundreds of diverse alumni from across the nation are coming out in support of this traveling series. Looks like the Spectrum Conference of 2013 at Penn will be even bigger!

#3.  Penn Unites Against Racism- More than 200 students and faculty, including Amy Gutmann, united against racism in a silent circle outside of College Hall this spring. The “We Belong” protest was in response to a DP article written about one man’s experiences with racism on campus. The sobering accounts called anti-racism allies to action and led to a victorious display of solidarity and advocacy at Penn.

#2.  Homecoming Toasts to 40Years of Black History- The Center for Africana Studies (CFAS) – originally Afro-American Studies and the University’s first program dedicated to studies of the African diaspora- celebrated its 40th anniversary during Homecoming! CFAS had a jam-packed day of events that honored this milestone in Black History at Penn and attracted hundreds of alumni to join the celebration. Cheers!

#1.  Faculty Diversity Plan Unveiled- Penn released a $100-million Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence this summer to diversify the university’s faculty. A few weeks ago, this historic plan also received $2M for the Presidential Term Professorships, an integral part of the plan that will support up to ten professorships.  This was a huge step for diversity at Penn and definitely my #1 moment at Penn in 2011!

What do you think of the top 11 moments? What was your favorite moment of 2011?

Can’t wait to see what 2012 holds for Penn.



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Filed under Cecilia R., Commencement, Events, Homecoming Weekend featuring arts and culture, Memories of Penn, Multicultural Outreach, Review, Uncategorized

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