With TCU on a national stage now more than ever, there’s no better time to showcase what makes the university special. Among the many attributes being celebrated during TCU’s Sesquicentennial, the campus culture of belonging and inclusion is at the forefront.
“It’s important that during our 150th anniversary we bring to light that Black and Indigenous peoples, women and people of color are part of our history,” Florencio Aranda, assistant director of diversity and inclusion initiatives, said. “That’s what makes the university so rich. We have a great opportunity to make others more aware of our culture.”
As co-chair of the 150th DEI subcommittee, Aranda – affectionately known as Dr. Flo – along with Karen Bell Morgan, dean of students, tasked themselves and the committee to think up different and engaging events throughout the anniversary year. Their goal is to provide educational and fun activities that can engage people from all walks of life.
Starting in March and continuing into the fall, the events will be open to the public, free of charge and in-person. Some will offer virtual participation.
“This is just the beginning of a beautiful experience that we can create for current and future Horned Frogs, and it’s what we as a university could and should do to give back,” Dr. Flo said of the events.
The first event is March 8 and is the Women in Excellence Alumnae Panel. Each panelist is unique in what they brought to TCU diversity – and continue to support through their professions and networks, Bell Morgan said.
“We want to show their imprint and how they helped pave the way for women, now and for the next 150 years,” she said.
The committee’s speaker series will welcome Dolores Huerta to campus March 29. Huerta was a labor leader and civil rights activist who, with César Chávez, co-founded the United Farm Workers. At 92, Huerta continues to focus on civil rights and advocate for the working poor, women and children.
“We are beyond excited to have this prominent Latina come to TCU,” Dr. Flo said. “She has changed the way we look at Latinos, and the contributions they have made and continue to make, despite a lack of opportunities.”
This particular event has special meaning to Dr. Flo, as he shared a personal story about his maternal grandmother.
“She told me that she, her sister and my uncles had gone to California to work the fields when they were young,” he said. “They marched with Chávez for better work conditions, which were so bad that she and others would have to be carried from the field some days. It was such a powerful moment for me to learn about her time there.”
These are the kinds of purposeful connections he hopes to see events such as Race & Reconciliation Week in April.
The theme of RRI Week is “Cause and Common Ground.” Events will include:
- A Screen on the Green event April 17 with a showing of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and Asian-inspired food
- Reconciliation Day April 19, when year-three findings of this initiative will be discussed and updated, based on recommendations from research. Food and entertainment will be provided
- The Fun Fair April 21, when the RRI committee and fraternities, sororities and other student groups will welcome 6th to 12th graders from local Boys & Girls Clubs to campus; it will be a carnival-live event for these students to have fun and fellowship and experience TCU.
More events are being planned for fall.
“As we go forward, it’s so important to talk about our history, the magnitude of our different perspectives and the variety of (or various) identities that we have at TCU,” Dr. Flo said. “As our students prepare to be leaders, they will be able to take on any job because they will have been immersed and involved with people of all backgrounds and experiences.”
And at the end of the day, he added, it’s about how we are shaping the next 150 years.