Kansas State University celebrates completion of Morris Family Multicultural Student Center
Friday, Nov. 20, 2020
The Kansas State University Morris Family Multicultural Student Center is one of two free-standing multicultural centers in the Big 12. The center is for all students and is the hub for intercultural learning and cultural enrichment at K-State. | View video.
MANHATTAN — The simple act of cutting a ribbon brings long-standing dreams to fruition at Kansas State University.
"Today we celebrate another milestone at K-State with the completion of the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center," said Richard Myers, president of Kansas State University. "This new, modern facility symbolizes K-State's leading efforts to build unity and understanding of cultures across campus."
On Friday, Nov. 20, K-State hosted a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new Morris Family Multicultural Student Center.
The center is for all students and is the hub for intercultural learning and cultural enrichment at K-State. It is one of two stand-alone multicultural student centers in the Big 12.
"This center is to be a bridge to bring people together and not to break them apart," said Jim Bob Morris, lead donor for the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center. "There are some major inequalities out there where people have to jump over major hurdles. We want to bring those hurdles down and help those people be successful by building a bridge between their hopes and desires and their reality, which they can then choose to cross over."
The nearly 13,000-square-foot, three-story, free-standing building is immediately east of the K-State Student Union with entrances off of Mid-Campus Drive and inside the Union. The $6.4 million multicultural student center was privately funded in partnership with the Kansas State University Foundation.
The center is the home to more than 40 multicultural student organizations and provides students and student organizations with collaboration spaces, meeting rooms, prayer and meditation spaces, and a practice performance room. A community kitchen is a signature feature, bringing diverse people together to celebrate their rich history, heritage and traditions around cooking and culture.
"The building itself is a symbol of belonging to the diverse community on campus," said Rachel "Annie" Cortes, senior in elementary education, Pittsburg, and president of the Asian American Student Union. "I cannot even begin to imagine its impact once we begin holding events, having meetings, sharing our cultures, and overall leaving our mark here at Kansas State University that will be visible for generations to come.
"I really appreciate the thought that was put into what would normally be overlooked, such as ensuring as much natural light as possible. One major feature that stood out to me was the efficient use of space with every area having its purpose. It is clear that the building was built with the students' wants and needs in mind."
In addition to the student-centric features and uses, multicultural student life and intercultural learning staff will have offices in the center.
"One of the primary goals of the multicultural center project action team was to maximize the footprint of the space and to center its function around student utilization," said Adrian Rodriguez, associate vice president for student life and project lead for the center. "Only a few offices were designed for diversity and multicultural student affairs team members who work directly with multicultural student groups and intercultural learning for our entire campus community."
"This facility has been a long-held aspiration for K-State," said Greg Willems, president and CEO of the KSU Foundation. "Its integration with the K-State Student Union will allow this special space to serve as an access point for all students to engage in important conversations about diversity and inclusion. We are especially proud to have achieved this 100% with philanthropy and are grateful for the K-State family's generosity toward this initiative."
The Morris Family Multicultural Student Center will be open to students at the beginning of the spring semester. Additional student dedications and events to celebrate the opening of the center are being planned for the spring semester.
The Kansas State University Morris Family Multicultural Student Center is one of two free-standing multicultural centers in the Big 12. The center is for all students and is the hub for intercultural learning and cultural enrichment at K-State. | Download this photo.
Kansas State University celebrated the completion of the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center on Nov. 20. K-State President Richard Myers, center front, and lead donor Jim Bob Morris, center back, are joined by students during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. | Download this photo.