$325K pledged to multicultural center
West Chester University received the largest monetary contribution to its multicultural program.
WEST CHESTER >> West Chester University received what officials described as the largest monetary contribution to their multicultural program Friday, where the ribbon was cut on the newly dedicated Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center.
The newly named center is meant to honor Lawrence “Larry” Dowdy, a university administrator who received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from West Chester University.
Dowdy retired from the university in December of 2014 as the executive deputy to the president, and in the words of Interim President Christopher Fiorentino, was a “champion of the underrepresented students.”
Dowdy said the $325,000 endowment was meant to reinforce legacy of diversity and student leadership at West Chester University.
“I am humbled to be given such an honor,” he said.
Student Services Incorporated (SSI), a nonprofit organization that helps support student programs at West Chester University, contributed $250,000 of the $325,000 endowment to the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
“We support students however we can,” said SSI Director Donna Snyder. “It was an exciting event and we’re happy to help.”
Dowdy and his wife, Meryl, pledged an additional $25,000. Other family and friends donated a total of $50,000, bringing the grand total of the endowment to $325,000.
Dowdy said he hopes the endowment will help the Office of Multicultural Affairs do three things; provide leadership development opportunities for multicultural students, provide symposiums for all students to explore issues of diversity and inclusion, and to explore concepts of leadership that serve the greater good.
Jerome Hutson, director of the multicultural center, likewise expressed appreciation for the gift, calling it an “unexpected joy.”
University officials also said the endowment could be used to help multicultural students travel and study abroad, and potentially hold a conference on campus to discuss leadership from multicultural perspectives.
“We’re very appreciative of Larry and SSI,” Hutson said.
Dowdy graduated from West Chester University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in education, and earned a master’s degree from there in 1980 in counselor education.
“It’s not about the name above the office, but what the endowment will do,” Dowdy said.
From left, Matthew Dowdy, Meryl Dowdy, Lawrence Dowdy and Leah Dowdy.