Highlighting themes of activism and empowerment, community and mentorship, exploration and engagement, Colgate’s 30th anniversary celebration of the ALANA Cultural Center this year provided opportunities to celebrate, learn, and recommit.
In April, ALANA Founders’ Week drew the community to a rededication ceremony; a community art project; and a panel discussion on “The Art of Historical Storytelling” featuring Diane Ciccone ’74, P’10, author of a new history of Colgate’s first African American students, Professor Kyle Bass, author of the new play Possessing Harriet, and Emily Jeffres, digital history project manager at Colgate.
“At a time the rest of the country was trying to get rid of minority student programs, this building opened,” remarked one of those activists, Gregory Threatte ’69, a longtime student mentor, volunteer, and trustee emeritus. “I’m proud of Colgate.”
“Many of you in this room were instrumental in the founding of this space,” said LeAnna Rice, the center’s director. “Your presence on this campus has contributed to the success and legacy of Colgate and has paved the way for so many students.”
Rice highlighted the five commitments of the center’s mission — community building, social justice education, cultural and historical celebration, student self-empowerment, and peer engagement. She outlined the efforts of this past year, including events; training; educational, cross-cultural interaction, and support programs; and expanding the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance to two weeks.
She also shared new efforts for 2019–20, which will include comprehensive social justice, educational, training, and peer education programs, as well as expansion of mentoring programs. “While this is an ambitious mission, it has to be,” Rice said. “The sacrifices that you have made, the challenges that you endured as students, require me to be a better leader and for ALANA to grow to meet the challenges and the new landscape that many students of color continue to face. My hope is that you will all be proud of this space, and find ways to engage with us. Our students need your support.”
“On this 30th anniversary, we recognize that ALANA’s story is our story, over the decades and over the centuries, etching our presence into the very architecture, history, and landscape of Colgate,” said Tracey E. Hucks ’87, MA’90, provost and dean of the faculty. “It is also on the occasion of this Bicentennial Reunion that we mark a new beginning with Colgate. Moving into our third century, we want to commit and recommit to the alumni of color here, which began in 1840 with a single student coming in. We have grown tremendously and we want to stay connected to you.”
The event closed with a surprise: Teresa Delgado ’88 and Pascal Kabemba ’85, who told their love story in the Colgate Scene in 2014, celebrated their 30 years of marriage, and looked forward to years of future love, by renewing their wedding vows, with all those gathered as witnesses. Harvey Sindima, professor of philosophy and religion, officiated.
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Save the date
Friday, October 4, 2019 Homecoming mixer for alumni and students of color