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Fearless Diamonds Awards and Tribute to Women Program

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Come out and celebrate an evening honoring the women of IUP and the Indiana community at the second annual Fearless Diamonds Awards and Tribute to Women Program, taking place this Friday, March 28, 2014, in the PNC Room at the Kovalchick Complex starting at 5:00 p.m.

The evening will consist of dinner, the presentation of the Fearless Diamond Awards, music, and performances. Music will be provided by the Jazz Band by Galen, a group of jazz musicians from Florida.

The keynote speech will be delivered by Debra Valentine-Gray from the IUP Pittsburgh office.

Admission is free. This is a Diversity Counts Program.

African American Cultural Center

Inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Speaker and Cultural Arts Series

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.The inauguration of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Speaker and Cultural Arts Series takes place on Monday, February 10, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. in the HUB Ohio Room.

Sybrina FultonThis Six O’Clock Series event, sponsored by the IUP African American Cultural Center in honor of Black History Month 2014, features Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin and cofounder of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, and Michael Skolnik, political director for Russell Simmons and president of

Michael SkolnikBoth guests will participate in an interactive panel discussion called “He Has A Name: Trayvon Martin and the Fight to End the Criminalization/Profiling of Black Youth.”

This event is free and open to the public. Space is limited—first come, first served.  

A student leader reception will occur earlier at 4:00 p.m. in the Multicultural Suite, 325 Delaney Hall. RSVP required.

For further information, contact the African American Cultural Center at 724-357-2455.

Cosponsored by the Six O’Clock Series and the Office of Social Equity.

Karsonya Wise Whitehead Featured Speaker at IUP Kwanzaa Celebration 2013

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The IUP annual Kwanzaa Celebration will take place on Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 5:00 p.m. in the HUB Ohio Room. Being the 47th year of the Kwanzaa holiday that officially occurs December 26 through January 1, the event is a celebration of African American culture, family, friends, and community. 

The seven-day celebration consists of seven different principles which form the heart of Kwanzaa and a number of other celebrant events. IUP’s program honors the occasion prior to final exams and is designed to be an inspiration for further progress and achievement. This year’s theme is “The Dawning of Change.”

Karsonya (Kaye) Wise WhiteheadA motivational speaker, prolific blogger, and frequent guest on radio and television, Karsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead will present the keynote address. An assistant professor of communication and African and African American studies in the Department of Communication at Loyola University of Maryland, Whitehead has spoken to adults, teenagers, and children around the world. Whitehead is also the recipient of the 2013 Loyola University of Maryland Faculty Award for Excellence in Engaged Scholarship, and was recently selected as one of the top 25 women professors in Maryland. With a rich resume, Whitehead is bound to awe the audience with her key address, “Integritas: Becoming the Change You Want to See in the World.”

Rounding out the Kwanzaa celebration will be the Kwanzaa Feast and Ceremony; participation by several students, faculty, staff, community members; and several student performances, including IUP Voices of Joy and the African Dance Ensemble. Guests are requested to bring a covered dish and a non-perishable food item to donate to a local charity. 

The event is free, open to all, and a Diversity Counts Program. It is sponsored by the IUP African American Cultural Center (AACC).  For further information and/or to RSVP, please contact the AACC at 724-357-2455. 

Brenda Frazier to Present Keynote at Pre-Commencement Program

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Brenda FrazierBrenda Frazier, social/political activist and member of the Allegheny County Council, District 13, will present the keynote message at the African American Cultural Center’s (AACC) 23rd annual Spring Pre-Commencement Reception and Awards Program that will be held on Friday, May 17, 2013, at 5:00 p.m. in the HUB Ohio Room.

The theme of the program is “Diversity Counts: Today’s Priority, Tomorrow's Reality.” Frazier is expected to provide an inspirational speech to the diverse students who will be graduating in May/August 2013.

 Frazier has served on the Economic Development Committee, the Pittsburgh School Desegregation Advisory Committee, and the Pittsburgh Council on Public Education, and has chaired the Health and Human Services Committee and the the Special Committee on Children, Youth, and Families. She also founded a local high school PTA and was cofounder of the PA Women’s Campaign Fund.

The AACC Pre-Commencement Program has become a favorite and well-expected event of students. As a department, it honors and recognizes the students who are its target for this milestone achievement. The program will include the presentation of several outstanding student awards to graduating diverse students along with special recognition awards to 37 faculty and staff whom the students nominated as being instrumental to their successful persistence to college graduation. As well, various student performances will complement the program. Approximately 236 diverse students will be graduating and have been invited to attend this year’s Spring program. In addition, approximately 500 guests have replied that they will be attending the program.

Please feel free to join us as the African American Cultural Center celebrates a great achievement of diverse students. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to all. For further information or to RSVP, please contact the AACC at 724-357-2455.

President Driscoll Welcomes Diverse Students, Tours African American Cultural Center

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The 23rd annual Directions dinner and orientation for entering freshmen and diverse students took place at the African American Cultural Center on September 20, 2012. This year's theme was “Moving Diversity Consciousness Forward: What's RIGHT with this Picture?” Melvin Jenkins provided the keynote address, and President Michael Driscoll was among the honored guests and presented opening remarks.

President Michael Driscoll at Directions 2012
President Driscoll with members of various student organization at the AACC. From left: Marquette Perrin, president, African Dance Ensemble; Jonathan Thompson, president, Latino Student Association; Driscoll; Toya Robertson, POIZ Modeling Troupe; Madison Nyah, Pan African Student Association; Carolyn Princes, director of the AACC; and Melkia Green, president of the Black Student League

For at least 23 years, the African American Cultural Center has sponsored Directions, the annual welcoming program for entering diverse students. The program has expanded to include not only diverse graduate and undergraduate students, but also students of the Ujamaa Living-Learning, social-justice focused floor in Delaney Hall and transfer students from the Punxsutawney campus.

Naya McCrae, President Driscoll, and Nina WatersThe program's overall purpose is to not only welcome these students to IUP, but to provide them with further information and opportunities that can serve as a "roadmap for success," with directions that could aid them when and if needed on their journey through college.

Photo, from left: Naya McCrae, President Driscoll, and Nina Waters

Student recipients of the $500 African American Alumni Scholarship for 2012 and 2013 were among the honored guests. Driscoll spoke with both students—Naya McCrae (2012) and Nina Waters (2013)—and was highly interactive and engaging throughout his visit at the program. Special thanks are extended to all who attended and helped to make the program possible.

Driscoll AACC tour 2012On September 6, 2012, Driscoll and Rhonda Luckey, vice president for Student Affairs, toured the AACC office and met with several students.

Photo, from left: President Driscoll with AACC graduate student worker Mariette Bien-Aime; Luckey; graduate student worker Cory Palek; and Princes

During his visit, Driscolll engaged in a lively, informal talk with the students, providing them with an opportunity to get to know him as a person and to address questions they may have had, including their perception of what they felt is needed but missing from the Center. For many of the students, this was probably the first time they had an opportunity to even meet and interact with a college president, especially on a level at which they could relate. Needless to say, Driscoll's visit to the Center was well received, and we are thankful for his taking time out of his buy schedule to tour the AACC and meet, greet, and interact with the students.

Founders of African American Alumni Scholarship Attend 2012 Homecoming, Meet Scholarship Recipient

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On October 5, 2012, during the IUP Homecoming weekend, five alumni who founded the African American Alumni Scholarship returned to campus and attended the African American Cultural Center annual Homecoming Cultural Enrichment Night at Cozumel Mexican Restaurant, featuring Mexican cuisine and a salsa dance contest.

The men, members of the group known as “The Players,” included Donald Howe ’79, Mike Higgins ’80, Claud Epps ’80, Jamie Wallace ’80, and Jamie Wallace ’82. Prior to this event, on October 4, they toured the AACC office and talked informally with several students. At the restaurant, they were joined by another alumnus, Aaron Princes ’08 and ’09.

The Players at Homecoming 2012
From left: Steve Whiting ’82; Jamie Wallace ’80; Carolyn Princes, associate dean of Students for Multicultural Affairs/director; Naya Mcrae, 2012 African American Alumni Scholarship Recipient; Claude Epps ’80; Mike Higgins ’80; and Donald Howe ’79 (missing, 2013 recipient Nina Waters)

As a panel, each alumnus introduced themselves and provided words of wisdom and encouragement to the students in attendance. They all fully participated in the Cozumel program, including the salsa dance contest. One member of the “Players” group was recipient of the first place prize for the salsa dance contest, and the alumnus presented the entire winnings to his undergraduate partner.

The alumni also had an opportunity to meet and greet the 2012 IUP recipient of the $500 African American Alumni Scholarship, Naya McCrae. Unfortunately, invited guest and 2013 recipient Nina Waters was unable to attend the event. The overall program provided students with an opportunity to interact with people from the university and local community of different racial/ethnic and social backgrounds in a culturally-enriching and pleasant environment.

It was quite apparent to the 32 persons in attendance that the objectives of Cultural Enrichment Night were met, and the event was an overall success. It received a rating of 4.86 out of a possible score of 5.00. On behalf of IUP and its students, the 2012 scholarship recipient presented the alumni with a small token of appreciation for their work and support of students.

The “Players” also attended the Crimson Huddle and met with many people, including the new president of IUP, Michael Driscoll, and attended the football game.

The African American Cultural Center extends special thanks to the African American alumni for their support and for helping to make AACC Homecoming activities at Cozumel successful.

Author and TV Host Touré Guest Speaker at Directions Dinner-Reception

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The African American Cultural Center (AACC) will sponsor the twenty-second annual Directions Dinner-Reception for Entering Minority students on Thursday, September 15, 2011, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Crimson Event Center, Folger Hall.

The event is designed to provide students with opportunities to interact with faculty, staff, administrators, and student leaders. Guest speaker will be Touré, television host and author of Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now. As a provocative, engaging, witty, and thought-provoking speaker, Touré is one of the most important writers on culture today.

The program’s theme is Partnering for Our Common Goal: Hooray for the New! Opportunities and More. It will continue the legacy of providing information on “succeeding in spite of yourself” and a road map to success.

The Directions Dinner-Reception is one of the most highly rated AACC programs. Touré and the various members of the IUP community will join together to officially assist with welcoming entering minority students to campus. Directions’ seating is limited, so come early and bring an entering student! Afterward, stay to watch the televised football game as IUP plays Bloomsburg

Touré’s latest book will be among several prize items presented.

For further information or to RSVP, please contact the African American Cultural Center at 724-357-2455.

  • African American Cultural Center
  • Susan S. Delaney Hall, Suite B25
    920 Grant Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2455
  • Fax: 724-357-6196
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.