The year 2014 is off to an amazing start with a whirlwind of hot events that helped keep the symptoms of Wisconsin Winter hibernation at bay.
Welcoming students back to campus was a rousing celebration of national Civil Rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, which included the life-long humanitarian work of one of our own – Dr. Hazel Symonette, who’s lifelong humanitarian work and teaching was saluted with the Dane County MLK Humanitarian Award. Congratulations Dr. Symonette!
On Friday, Feb. 7, the PEOPLE program was the proud recipient of a sixth annual Regents’ Diversity Awards. The awards program was established by the Board to recognize and support individuals and programs in the UW System that foster access and success in university life for historically underrepresented populations. The PEOPLE program took honors under the “team” category, which is why their well-earned tagline is “Where the Wisconsin Idea Happens.” Congratulations PEOPLE Team!
Later that evening on Feb. 7, we celebrated the induction of the fourth class of Bouchet Graduate Research Society Inductees, which includes a showcase of research projects by last year’s Bouchet Society inductees and the Ronald McNair Undergraduate Research Scholars’ projects. UW-Madison was the second university in the nation to establish a chapter of the Bouchet Society in honor of Dr. Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African American to earn a doctorate degree at an American University. Bouchet earned a doctorate in Physic from Yale — my alma mater — in 1876.Continuing Monday nights through the spring semester, the lecture series “Getting Real IV: Hip Hop Pedagogy, Arts and Culture in the K-12 Classroom, in Higher Education, the Music Industry and Beyond” hosted by internationally-renowned education scholar Prof. Gloria Ladson-Billings will feature scholars, artist practitioners and leaders in the field hip-hop education. Special guests will include music industry and pedagogical innovators who focus on the use of hip-hop and spoken word to provide culturally relevant curriculum and learning.
On Feb. 21 and 22, the Wisconsin Association of Black Men hosted its 6th Annual Black Male Initiative Forum. This year’s issue focus “The Man in the Mirror: Is Self-Identity a Reflection of Interpersonal Relationships” was addressed by keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. Alex Gee at the Friday evening plenary session in the Symphony Room of the Gordon Commons Events Center. They took the topic deeper in expert-led follow-up discussion sessions on Saturday morning.
This February we held hold the inaugural Multicultural Performing Arts Festival, which will become an annual celebration of UW-Madison multicultural artists, writers, playwrights, dancers and performers. This year’s event included two productions, an original play by Rain Wilson, “Jungle Kings,” and Dance Professor Chris Walker’s traditional Black History Month celebration “Moonshine.” An expert panel addressed the issues and themes embraced in both works on Sunday afternoon in a symposium.
Moonshine, now a seven-year tradition of dance joy by Assistant Professor Chris Walker and friends, included acclaimed African-American student artists, merges African and African-Caribbean dance, hip hop, spoken word, poetry, drumming, chanting and singing.
Administrators, faculty, staff and friends gathered to congratulate newly-hired and recently-promoted faculty of color at the annual Faculty of Color Reception.
Then for our divisional salute to inclusive excellence history, on Feb. 27, the Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO) celebrated its 20th Anniversary. We honored the “Founding Fathers’ of CeO – formerly TRIO – and celebrated all 1,076 UW graduates who’ve passed through the program since 1993. Celebrants included the honoring of long-time dedicated staff members, including Assistant Director Wilma (Barrows) Callaway, who has been with CeO 20 years, and Director Kirk Malnor, who has been with CeO for 18 years. Also saluted was long-time CeO staffer Dang Chonwerawong. Founder Gary Sandefur and the son of the program’s original director Brenda Pfaehler, Seth Pfaehler, joined the celebration along with a host of present and past counselors, graduates and supporters.And that was just February Black History Month.On Wednesday, March 26, we’ll host A Nation Still Under Construction: Observing the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Union South’s Varsity Hall.
We are proud to feature Milwaukee civil rights pioneer Velvalea “Vel” Phillips, the first African American woman to graduate from the Wisconsin Law School, (L.L.B ‘51) and serve as Wisconsin Secretary of State, along with UW-Madison alumnus Roberto Rivera, a Chicago-based contemporary youth development, social justice and hip-hop culture specialist, as keynote speakers. This daylong observation will cover the local, regional and national history of civil rights from the events leading up to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the social, political and institutional evolution that followed, and an expert-led discussion on the state of contemporary American civil rights.Our day will provide interactive opportunities for participants of all ranks and ages to learn about the University of Wisconsin’s past and present role in civil rights history. Register today at https://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/OHRDCatalogPortal/Default.aspx?CK=45324.
Then join us for a continuing observation of American music history on Friday, March 28, when the Morgan State University Choir will perform a free concert in Mills Concert Hall, Moss Humanities Building at 6 p.m. We’ll also hear a selection or two from the UW-Madison Gospel Choir.
Since March Women’s History Month is filled, we’re spilling over into April with the second annual Women In Leadership Symposium on Wednesday, April 9 from 7:30 a.m. to noon in the East Atrium and Plenary Room of Grainger Hall. Co-hosted with the National Diversity Council, we’ll again have a panel of women in the public, private sector and non-profit sectors lead a frank, lively, enlightening and informative discussion on working through the ranks to your leadership goals. This year’s UW-Madison representative will be University of Wisconsin Police Department Chief Susan Riseling. Don’t miss the tremendous opportunity to network, co-train with colleagues, and mentor one another in professional and personal growth.
Reserve your spot today at https://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/OHRDCatalogPortal/Default.aspx?CK=45325.
I hope we’ve provided a solid base of inclusive excellence for your spring calendar so far – we’ll be back with more happenings later. For now, I’m looking forward to seeing lots of you repeatedly in the coming weeks.