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Through a generous gift from Vin Foley ‘68, Merrimack College’s Center for Criminology will be named for Vincent P. Foley, Sr., who served as a police officer in Lawrence.
Merrimack College’s Spring 2021 Unity in Diversity Days event reflects the College’s unwavering commitment to ongoing education, reflection and action on diversity, equity and inclusion. One of the highlights of an ongoing education and training program, the two-day event is designed to bring the Merrimack College community together to deepen and broaden our awareness, knowledge and engagement.
“Merrimack College has long been invested in efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion on campus,” President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D said. “The presidential initiative on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was launched in July 2020 and represents a culmination of these efforts which are an institutional priority that is central to our mission and to every aspect of our daily operations.”
Building on the success of the first Unity in Diversity Days in October 2020, which attracted more than 3,000 people, President Hopey and Interim Provost Sean Condon pledged the College’s support for holding this event every semester. Faculty in all five schools at Merrimack College have embraced the invitation enthusiastically to attend relevant event sessions in lieu of class as well as to offer students extra credit for attending the event.
“The Unity in Diversity Days have greatly enhanced our efforts to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion education across the curriculum,” said Condon.
The rich virtual program to be held on Wednesday, April 7 and Thursday, 8, 2021 features a dozen guest speakers, including household names like CNN analyst Bakari Sellers and inspiring LinkedIn speaker Sharon Steed. Presentations will address such topics as health disparities and food insecurity, voting rights, neurodiversity and strategies to overcome polarization by embracing conflict and practicing empathy.
The spring semester program also offers an exciting cultural program with performances, workshops and an open mic featuring two young spoken-word artists: Britta B. and Ken10. Other highlights include student-led sessions on activism and putting theory into practice and roundtables featuring staff and faculty members in the College’s affinity groups, which represent the BiPOC, International, LGBTQ+, disability rights and support, and First Generation communities.
“This exciting program could not have come to fruition without the tireless commitment and collaborative efforts of a dedicated group of students, faculty and staff, who met weekly since January 2021,” said Professor Simona Sharoni, special assistant to the President for diversity, equity and inclusion. “I am especially grateful to DEI Ambassadors Rob Koch and Jasmine Khamis, and to Peter Rojas, director of the Office of Student Involvement, for their dedication to this project.”
Sharoni said she is thrilled with the interest in Merrimack’s DEI programs regionally and nationally.
“We will be joined by students, faculty and staff from other colleges in New England and across the nation and most likely by some international guests as well,” she said.
All events are free and open to the public but require pre-registration.