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K-State Today

May 16, 2017

A letter from interim Associate Provost for Diversity Zelia Wiley

Submitted by Zelia Wiley

Dear K-State family,

Spring is always a happy time with the flowers blooming to show there are new beginnings … and I see the same with commencement in which our graduates are set to begin their new careers. I am pleased to announce that this is one of our largest classes for multicultural student graduates. Join me as we congratulate all students on this accomplishment. Thank you to our community, faculty and staff for being a support system to prepare our students for a diverse world. I especially want to thank my staff, Mirta Chavez, Brandon Clark, Caitlyn Wells, Romaine Schell, Karen Wilson and our student workers for serving as a resource for student success! We could not have done this without you!

This semester has flown by in the blink of an eye; however, our efforts and programming have continued to be just as energetic in our communities as ever. In March, the Office of Diversity was featured in the INSIGHT into Diversity magazine. Also, I was fortunate enough to attend the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education annual conference on behalf of the university. The meeting took place in Washington, D.C., and I was able to network with other schools. At the end of March, our office collaborated for a successful Intercultural Development Inventory Professional Advancement Series for deans, department heads and faculty members.

In the past two months, the Office of Diversity hosted five College for a Day sessions, interacting with more than 100 high school students from across the state. Thank you to our colleges of Agriculture, Business Administration and Engineering for continued support of this Project IMPACT effort. Special thanks go to K-State Polytechnic for joining us for the second year and hosting College for a Day sessions highlighting the unmanned aircraft systems program and the digital media program!

The Office of Diversity also continues to support our multicultural student organizations in all of their endeavors. Congratulations to the Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. on their 100-year anniversary at K-State. They celebrated with a very impactful week in April, including their annual Wildcat Step Show in Forum Hall on April 7. We would also like to congratulate the Kappa Pi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. for winning first place in the step show.

Later in April, the Office of Diversity presented the Hispanic American Leadership Organization's, or HALO's, sixth annual Miss Balleza Latina Scholarship Pageant. Congratulations to the new Miss Belleza, Vanessa Sastoque, a sophomore studying business management, and first runner-up, Reina Garcia, a junior studying mass communications and our very own student staff assistant.

On April 24, the Poize Hip Hop Dance Team had their annual spring show in Forum Hall with an audience of more than 180 people. On May 7, the United Black Voice Gospel Choir presented a concert in Forum Hall that was enlightening to all in attendance.

To end the semester, two of our core multicultural student organizations participated in conferences. The Asian American Student Union, or AASU, participated in the annual Midwest Asian American Students Union conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Native American Student Association, or NASA, attended the annual Wisdom Keepers Conference in Council Grove.

As you may be aware, a description of a proposed university diversity team was published in K-State Today on May 10. Please read the announcement and send your thoughts by email to president@k-state.edu by May 30.

Also on May 10, we lost a pillar in the K-State community: Dr. James Boyer, professor emeritus in the College of Education. Throughout the state and nation, Dr. Boyer had an impact on education by serving on many thesis committees and through sharing his knowledge in the classroom. He was a stellar man on campus and in the Manhattan community, demonstrating leadership and love for all. He will be missed.

It is now time for us to move in an expeditious way for diversity and justice. Dr. Boyer paved the way for inclusion and diversity. His passing on the same day as the announcement of the university diversity plan should put us in the mindset of reflection and give us the motivation to pick up the baton for diversity. I am in this position on the shoulders of many, and Dr. Boyer's shoulders have supported me well. 

A celebration of life for Rev. Dr. James Boyer will take place at 11 a.m. Friday, May 19, at First United Methodist Church, 612 Ponytz Ave. The viewing will be 6-8 p.m. May 18 at the Fellowship Temple Church of God in Christ, 201 Knoxberry Drive. 

Again, please join me in congratulating the class of 2017, including the more than 600 multicultural students! Welcome to all of our new K-State alumni! What a way to end the semester!

Happy spring!

Zelia Wiley
Interim associate provost for diversity