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Seniors and Alumni Honored as Advocates for Diversity, Inclusion

Campus community comes together to celebrate achievements of students and alumni dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion

BRISTOL, R.I. – With smiles on their faces beaming as bright as the sun shining through the Global Heritage Hall atrium, student leaders who have dedicated their pursuits to promoting inclusivity and social justice across the campus community were honored this morning for their unrelenting advocacy.

In a poignant ceremony that united seniors, alumni, administrators and staff to celebrate the accomplishments of both the graduating students and departing Associate Dean Ande Diaz – who for seven years has served as director of the Intercultural Center – Vice President of Student Affairs John King presented stoles to 22 seniors who were recognized for their commitment to intercultural learning, collaborative spirit and ethics of campus inclusivity.

“These seniors are exemplary in their social justice leadership and promoting the University core values – particularly civil discourse across global perspectives,” King said. “It’s also important to recognize Ande Diaz, an extraordinary leader and educator who has been a tireless advocate on campus, a champion for student work and reminds us that we are a community of scholars and citizens.”

The tradition of bestowing stoles on intercultural leaders began in 2008 and was a small affair held in the Intercultural Center multipurpose room. Today, programming and participation has grown so extensively that the celebration required a larger space – fittingly, Global Heritage Hall, just a stone’s throw from the Center’s home on the north end of Maple Residence Hall. This year, the program was co-hosted by Alumni Relations, which provided pins to all graduating seniors who have been involved with the Intercultural Center over their four years.

“You are part of history, and today is the beginning,” said Lisa Raiola, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “We will be here, we will be waiting for you to come back and bestow these stoles on the next generation of RWU alumni.”

The Intercultural Center is one of the strongest links on campus, King said, noting that a number of student organizations – from the Multicultural Student Union to S.A.F.E. (the University’s Gay Straight Alliance program) to Sustained Dialogue – look to the Center as a resource for everything from leadership training to emotional support.

“I am happy to report that Roger Williams University is not the same school as it was 10 years ago, and that’s a great thing in terms of diversity and inclusion,” Diaz said. “Back then, there was no gender studies minor, there was no diversity leadership program, there was no multifaith chaplain. This new student-alumni tradition reflects that growth.”

The following seniors were awarded Intercultural Center stoles for their leadership and advocacy, which they will wear at Commencement on May 17:

  • Efinoghale “Nifty” Agodo
  • Thib Alghatahi
  • Abulaziz Almaneea
  • Willie Borkai
  • Hamza Bukhamseen
  • Timothy Clarkin
  • Brandon Farmer
  • Will Foley
  • Thu Huynh
  • Ada Lee
  • Jennifer Leger
  • Sabrina Moller
  • Victoria Mordasky
  • Megan Negron
  • Thuy-Diem Nguyen
  • Linda Oppong
  • Anastacia Papaioannou
  • Melissa Pennington
  • Cynthia Spinola
  • Sarah Stamm
  • Savannah Tribley
  • Susan Woodard