October 14, 2021
Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs helps bring new art to Morris Family Multicultural Student Center.
Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs has partnered with K-State trustee and alumnus Gabriel "Gabe" Hernandez and local artist and K-State alumna Phyllis Pease to bring the intersection of the past, current and future of Hispanic heritage to the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Department of Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs and H.A.L.O. hosted the 15th annual Midwest Encuentro Conference K-State Campus.
Encuentro, a student leadership conference hosted for high school students with the purpose of building a college-going intent and process. The conference aims to assist students and their families with navigating barriers to access by providing instrumental knowledge of higher education and the processes necessary to enter those spaces. We provided workshops from the Office of Recruitment and Admissions. Through Multicultural Student Organization-led panels the participants learned about the unexpected challenges often encountered during collegiate years. Participants learned how to overcome those barriers with the support of university staff and resources instrumental in meeting their educational goals.
"It was wonderful to have students back on campus for the conference, and we hosted almost 500 students representing 18 schools across Kansas," said Mirta Chavez, interim associate vice president for diversity and multicultural student affairs.
Hernandez, vice president in the transmission and distribution global practice at Burns & McDonnell gave a keynote address of "Sigue tus Suenos" to prospective students. Hernandez graduated from K-State in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and from the University of Missouri, Kansas City in 2015 with his Master of Business Administration. Hernandez has been a major contributor for the creation of the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center and is the namesake for the second-floor commons space.
This was a special year, with the opening of the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center. There was a ceremony included of the unveiling of a new piece of art honoring the legacy of Hispanic migrant farm work.
"It was important that the hard work of those who came before us was represented in the Morris Family Multicultural Center and the work of Ms. Pease on the piece is a phenomenal addition to the center," said Hernandez
The art piece, "Pura Vida" (Pure Life), by Pease, '87, features American labor leader Dolores Huerta and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. Pease spoke to an audience about the painting where there "was not a dry eye in the ballroom" when she re-lived the pain of not knowing her own culture growing up. "This painting was meaningful and served a great purpose as it helped me connect to my own roots. I am honored to have this piece represented in the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center."