A groundbreaking and naming announcement highlight the most recent developments in the extensive renovation of OMA&D’s new Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC) scheduled to open late fall, 2012.
Three months following the official groundbreaking for the facility, the UW Board of Regents approved naming the center after the late Dr. Samuel E. Kelly, the founding vice president for OMA&D and a pioneer for diversity on campus.
“We are excited about this opportunity to recognize Dr. Kelly and his contributions to both the University of Washington and the region,” vice president for Minority Affairs and vice provost for Diversity Sheila Edwards Lange said. “He opened the door for hundreds of underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students here at UW. Dr. Kelly set the standard for, and established a commitment to diversity before it was popular among American colleges and universities.”
Dr. Kelly came to the UW in 1970 and took on the role as the University’s first Vice President for Minority Affairs. By doing so, he became the first African-American senior administrator at UW. For six years, he led one of the strongest programs in the nation dedicated to integrating students of color at a major university. The innovative programs he developed over 40 years ago to recruit and retain underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students continue to this day. Dr. Kelly was also a special assistant to the president at UW from 1976-1982.
Prior to his tenure at UW, Dr. Kelly served in the U.S. Army for 22 years (1944-1966), rising from the rank of private to colonel. He was the first African-American hired in the Washington State Community College System when he began teaching at Everett Community College in 1964. Dr. Kelly also taught and held administrative positions at Shoreline Community College (1967-1970).
Since 2005, OMA&D has hosted a faculty lecture series to honor Dr. Kelly that showcases nationally recognized research on diversity and social justice. He attended every lecture until his death in 2009. Dr. Kelly penned an assisted autobiography with UW history professor Quintard Taylor that was published by the UW Press in 2010, titled Dr. Sam: Soldier, Educator, Advocate, Friend.
The official groundbreaking for the new facility occurred on Oct. 12, 2011. Representatives from the student legacy groups involved in the founding of the original ECC in 1971 participated in the ceremonial “dig.”
Those groups included the Black Student Union (BSU), M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan), First Nations, Filipino American Student Association (FASA), and Pacific Islander Student Commission (PISC). The OMA&D Vice President’s Student Advisory Board (chair Dalia Amin), ASUW (President Conor McLean and Director of Diversity Efforts Jonathan Winn), and the Graduate Professional Student Senate were also represented.
The ceremony took place at the ECC construction site located at the corner of Brooklyn Ave and NE 40th Street. Dr. Edwards Lange offered remarks and spoke about the building’s history.
In addition to Dr. Edwards Lange, joining the student leaders in the ceremony were OMA&D associate vice president Gabriel Gallardo, ECC assistant director Maggie Fonseca and the project architects, Sam Cameron, ’75, and Alex Rolluda, ’89. Both Rolluda and Cameron utilized the ECC while students at the UW. Representatives from Andersen Construction and UW president Michael K. Young were also on hand.
A public reception and facility tour are being planned for the grand re-opening of the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center in late fall.