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Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center 50th Anniversary and Commemoration

On March 3, 2022, the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center celebrated their 50th Anniversary and Commemoration with community members, alumni, and staff. The evening was a delight for those in attendance. For many, this was the first in-person event they have attended since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March on 2020.

As guests arrived they were greeted by delicious catered food, drinks, and live music. The Kelly ECC was transformed into an elegant and intimate event space, fitting for the gathering of close community and long-time friends. The event itself was kicked off by the Kelly ECC Director Magdalena Fonseca and Associate Director Cicero Delfin, followed by a greeting and land acknowledgement from interim-director of  wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, Casey Wynecoop (Spokane tribe). Vice President for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Rickey Hall, and University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce both delivered remarks about he great significance of the Kelly ECC to UW, and just how deep an impact the building and the programs have had over 50 years, and continue to have on students today. VP Hall commented, “To many students, the Ethnic Cultural Center is much more than a building. For many it is a home-away-from home – a place where students find community – where they find belonging here on the UW campus. It is a place where their cultures are not just recognized, but they are celebrated. Where they can come to find those who share similar backgrounds, and learn about others from their peers. It is a place where they can be ‘seen’ and just ‘be.'” President Cauce shared a heartwarming story from an alumna and friend, a former student who utilized the Kelly ECC, and how the center made a the difference in her success while studying at UW.

After the remarks, framed prints of the Kelly ECC 50th anniversary emblem were gifted to members of the Kelly family in attendance, President Cauce, VP Hall, and Emile Pitre. The attendees then moved from the Kelly ECC Unity Room to an open space on the first floor of the center where the commemorative plaques were unveiled, one honoring Dr. Samuel E. Kelly for his contributions to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion on the UW campus and surrounding communities. The evening concluded with decadent deserts and more live music as quests mingled and enjoyed viewing the new commemorative plaques.

Photos by Emile Pitre
Photos by Ron Wurzer

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