Centre College continues its effort to deepen the roots of its community by the creation of the intercultural suite on the second floor of the Campus Center, dedicated on Oct. 26, as part of the Homecoming 2018 festivities.
This space was created to be a place where people of every identity label could come and not only be welcome but engage in enlightening conversation with those whom they may not interact with on a day-to-day basis.
Originally dubbed the “multicultural center,” the title “intercultural center” better describes the function of the new space.
“The word ‘intercultural’ has been adopted in place of ‘multicultural’ to emphasize the mutual exchange of ideas and cultural norms and the development of deep relationships,” said Patrick Noltemeyer, chief planning officer of the College. “In an intercultural society, no one is left unchanged, because everyone learns from one another and grows together.”
In the words of Vice President and Dean of Student Life Randy Hays, “The intercultural suite is a space that speaks of what is best about our world, or perhaps how we want the world to be. In our Campus Center—the living room and the dining room and the den of our campus—it is a space dedicated to bringing us together.”
Noltemeyer describes the function of the suite as “serving as a hub for activities focused on bringing various student groups together, and as a casual gathering space, facilitate opportunities for students to gather in structured and unstructured ways.”
While the mission of Centre and its students is to make the campus a welcoming and inclusive environment, the intercultural suite has been created to symbolize this undertaking.
“This room makes a statement for who we are, by who we are, and it says that all are welcome here,” Hays said at the dedication ceremony. “And that is how it should be. Beyond walls. Beyond Borders. All are welcome. All are loved.”
In addition, the dedication ceremony also included remarks from James Davis, one of the first African-American graduates of Centre College, in 1968. Expressing what this new space represents for the Centre community, Davis spoke about the hardships and loneliness that he felt as a student of color on this campus, as well as the pride that it brought him to represent his family well by overcoming adversity and becoming a graduate of the College.
Stephanie Akoto Bamfo ‘21, president of Centre’s diversity student union, also spoke at the event, along with Sangeet P. Sheth ‘20, who gave the opening invocation; trustee Robert L. (Bobby) Elliot ’71; and Andrea Abrams, interim associate vice president for diversity initiatives and associate professor of anthropology.
The dedication ceremony also featured the reveal of a beautiful new glasswork titled Bang Bangy Bang created by Centre’s own Stephen Powell ‘74 in conjunction with alumnus Ché Rhodes ’95, who heads up the hot glass program at the University of Louisville. The glasswork was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor.
by Ben Bennett ’20
November 9, 2018