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A New Name for the Office of Multicultural Affairs

By Dr. Daria-Yvonne J. Graham

The state of education is ever-changing and continues to create the need to address evolving trends in higher education.  One of the ways that a university department addresses their shift in services and support is by changing their name and refining the charge of their work.  The Office of Multicultural Affairs has a rich history at the University of Dayton, which began with the establishment of the office in 1970 as the African and Afro-American Program.  As a response to the changes that happened in society and on campus, the name, mission, and staffing structure of the office was changed to the Center for Afro-American Affairs (1971) and then to the Office of Minority Student Affairs (mid-1980s).  In 1995, the name was changed to the Office of Diverse Student Populations to address the department's primary charge to serve both African American/Black and Hispanic/LatinX students.  To respond to the campus' change in demographics and the growing population of under-represented students, the department's name was again changed in 2008 to the Office of Multicultural Affairs with a broader focus on the experiences of African-American, Hispanic/LatinX, Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander students, and students with two or more identities.

Since 2017, the University of Dayton has seen a significant shift in the needs and the diversity of the student body.  For example, in 2018, the University proudly welcomed its most diverse class.  The Office of Multicultural Affairs has been uniquely positioned not only to support the experiences of under-represented students but also to provide ongoing social justice and diversity education both through co-curricular offerings, but also by creating opportunities and fulfilling requests to directly partner with academic affairs in curricular settings.  The Office of Multicultural Affairs is again positioned to adopt a name that better reflects its mission and the depth and breath of its work.  Effective July 1, 2019, the new name for the area will be the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center (MEC).  The Center will continue to support the experiences of students and to highlight the richness and beauty of all cultures.  The Center will also pursue and support endeavors to increase the social justice competencies of all students in a way that continues to demonstrate our Catholic, Marianist values.  We recognize the affinity that many members of our community, especially our students, have for the OMA name.  We do not take the change lightly, but are excited to better align with our role in the development of all students.

We remain #OMAzing and celebrate our #MECellence!


ME3C is the formula for excellence.

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