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Skidmore College

The Center, a new space for equity and inclusion, opens at Skidmore

September 29, 2021
by James Helicke

Skidmore's leadership, faculty, students, and staff are marking the opening of The Center, a new space in the heart of campus that reaffirms the College's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).  

President Marc Conner, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity Joshua Woodfork, Deputy Chief Diversity Officer and inaugural Director of The Center Anita Jack-Davies, and many others gathered at an open house on Friday, Sept. 24.

President Marc Conner, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity Joshua Woodfork and Deputy Chief Diversity Officer and Director of The Center Anita Jack-Davies speak at an open house at The Center on Friday, Sept. 24.

President Marc Conner, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity Joshua Woodfork and Deputy Chief Diversity Officer and Director of The Center Anita Jack-Davies speak at an open house at The Center on Friday, Sept. 24.

The new space, open to students, staff, and faculty, offers a dedicated campus space to discuss, collaborate, and think creatively about DEI work. It welcomes everyone and also serves as a social hub and community base for people from diverse cultures, identities, religions, gender identities and expression, and sexual orientations. 

"Today, we are witnesses to the convergence of thousands of ideas by faculty, staff, students, and other professionals that have culminated in the creation and development of this breathtaking space," Jack-Davies said. "Our vision is that The Center will be a vibrant space of learning, questioning, exploration, debate, discussion, and also relaxation."  

Prominently located in Case Center in heart of campus, The Center is available to both the campus and broader Saratoga Springs communities for classes, workshops, talks, special events, and other programming. 

Tshering Yoezer '22 and Sarah Choi '22 perform for visitors to The Center on Friday, Sept. 24

Tshering Yoezer '22 and Sarah Choi '22 perform for visitors to The Center on Friday, Sept. 24.

The bright, open space includes a large main stage area that can be reconfigured to serve a variety of purposes, a seminar room, and a fireside reading room with couches for smaller groups that can be used on a drop-in basis.  

President Conner, who has prioritized building a stronger Skidmore community through Skidmore's Racial Justice Initiative and other efforts, said The Center offered a space where the community could come together to tackle the work of creating a more just society. But that work would not be easy.  

"This is a place where we will come to have courageous conversations. At the heart of that is this: How do we make the place better? How do we make Skidmore better? … How do we make the world better?" Conner asked. "Courageous conversations — that's what a liberal arts education is all about."  

Conner acknowledged the contributions of Jack-Davies, Woodfork, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Mariel Martin, and many others to The Center. Woodfork highlighted the role of students, faculty, and other community members over the years in bringing the project to fruition. 

Skidmore employees participate in an open house of The Center.

Skidmore employees participate in an open house of The Center.

 "I'm very grateful to all those voices and the input that people gave us that tried to make this better," Woodfork said.  

Jack-Davies encouraged members of the Skidmore community to offer feedback to help shape the development of programming at The Center. Members of the campus community are also invited to participate in tours of The Center, which continue through Friday, Oct. 8.  

For more information on how to reserve space in The Center, please contact Anita Jack-Davies

President Marc Conner speaks with Nakeysa Hooglund '23, left, and Neke Abu '22 at The Center.

President Marc Conner speaks with Nakeysa Hooglund '23, left, and Neke Abu '22 at The Center.


 

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