The University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) will celebrate the grand opening of the newly renovated Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center with a pair of events Jan. 10-11.
An invitation-only reception will be held Thur., Jan. 10, to commemorate the naming of the new center with the family of Dr. Kelly. On Fri., Jan. 11, the campus and local community is invited to join OMA&D for the “Light Up the Night” celebration from 5-8 p.m.
“Light Up the Night” will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony and remarks from UW leadership beginning at 5 p.m. Food and beverages will be provided. Activities will include building tours, student performances and historical video viewings. Featured speakers will be UW President Michael K. Young and Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity Sheila Edwards Lange. The event is free, but R.S.V.P.s are requested.
The building, which originated in 1972, underwent an extensive 1.5-year renovation at its location on the corner of Brooklyn Ave NE and NE 40th Street. In January 2012, the UW Board of Regents approved naming the new center in honor of the late Dr. Samuel E. Kelly, the founding vice president for minority affairs at the UW.
The new center:
- Is the first UW building to be named for an African American.
- Contains 25,000 square feet and is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certified.
- Was architecturally designed by former UW students Alex Rolluda, ’89, and Sam Cameron, ’75, of Rolluda and Associates.
- Has 22 of the historical murals from the original building.
“We now become the largest and oldest college cultural center in the United States, as well as a significant point of pride for the Pacific Northwest,” Kelly Cultural Center Director Marisa Herrera said. “We think it’s truly a unique space and there is nothing like it on another college campus. We are incredibly proud to call this space our new home.”
Naming the new center in honor of Dr. Kelly pays tribute to his legacy as a pioneer for diversity at the UW. He was the first African American senior administrator at the UW.
“He opened doors for hundreds of underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students here at the UW,” Edwards Lange said. “Dr. Kelly set the standard for, and established a commitment to diversity before it was popular among American colleges and universities.”
The Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center serves nearly 90 student organizations and has been a “home away from home” for students of color at the UW since its inception.
For more information, contact Herrera at firstname.lastname@example.org/206-543-4635.
Photos by Emile Pitre