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Investing in Student Achievement and Honoring Black Faculty through Fundraising and Philanthropic Gifts

The final component of the community Initiative revolves around investing in student achievement and honoring Black faculty. Currently, there are several opportunities for continued and accelerated philanthropic support.

Dr. Joseph L. White Lecture (Cross Cultural Center, Division of Student Affairs)

The Dr. Joseph L. White Lecture was established as a tribute to the emeritus professor and this event has become a major national forum for thought leaders. In 1969, Dr. White was recruited to UCI by founding Chancellor Daniel G. Aldrich Jr. as a professor in the Program in Comparative Culture and as director of the Black Studies Program. He also held appointments in the School of Social Sciences and in the Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior. His 1970 article “Toward a Black Psychology,” questioning traditional psychological theories that were inadequate to understanding African American culture, is one of the seminal documents in the field of Black psychology. His books include The Psychology of Blacks: An African-American Perspective (1984), The Troubled Adolescent (1989) and Black Man Emerging (1999). Dr. White founded the Cross-Cultural Center at UCI, the first of its kind in the University of California system, and the UCI Counseling Center. In recognition of his founding role, the Cross Cultural Center named its main conference after Dr. White.

Donald McKayle Endowment for Modern Dance (Claire Trevor School of Arts)

The endowment provides an opportunity for UCI and community members to honor the contributions made by the late Donald McKayle as Professor Emeritus and Director of UCI’s Etude Ensemble at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts Department of Dance (1989-2018). This fund will perpetuate his dedication to the next generation of dancers by providing scholarships, securing dance luminaries to conduct master classes, and commissioning new works in modern dance.

Donald McKayle joined UCI’s Department of Dance in 1989. His choreographic masterworks are considered modern dance classics. Games, Rainbow Round My Shoulder, District Storyville, and Songs of the Disinherited are still performed around the world. His contributions to the world of dance earned him a citation as “one of America’s irreplaceable dance treasures” by the Dance Heritage Coalition and the Library of Congress, along with a medal from the Kennedy Center as a Master of African-American Choreography. His choreography earned him two Emmy Award nominations, an NAACP Image Award, and five Tony Award nominations for his work in Broadway musicals.

Professor McKayle was awarded virtually every honor given in the dance profession.  For his work in education, he earned the UCI Medal, the university’s highest honor, and was named Claire Trevor Professor in Dance, an endowed chair. He mentored and counseled the next generation of dancers in our community until his death, thus ensuring that his contributions to the world of dance would continue for decades to come.

Professor Lindon Barrett Memorial Award (Department of African American Studies, School of Humanities)

The Lindon Barrett Memorial Award was created in his honor as a scholarship for outstanding undergraduates majoring in African American Studies. A leading literary critic and cultural theorist, Professor Barrett enriched the School of Humanities as a member of the Critical Theory Institute, the Director of the Program in African American Studies, and a faculty member in the Departments of Comparative Literature and English. He spent his academic career serving the UCI campus. Recruited in 1990 as an assistant professor of English and Comparative Literature, Barrett rose to become a full professor and distinguished himself as a founding member of the Program in African American Studies, which he served as Director from 2004 to 2007. He later joined the University of California, Riverside in 2007. Barrett also authored Blackness and Value: Seeing Double (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and numerous scholarly essays and book chapters, including in the flagship journal Callaloo, which he served as Associate Editor from 1997 to 2000.

Black Leadership and Advancement Coalition (BLAC): Night of the Stars Annual Gala

The BLAC started at UCI in 2002 to enhance the experience of Black students, staff, faculty, and alumni at UCI. The BLAC is comprised of individuals from the UCI Black Alumni Chapter, the African American Alumni Council, various campus units and students from diverse disciplines, all dedicated to supporting and advancing the UCI Black community. The goals of the BLAC are to support academic achievement, promote cultural awareness, to unite various African American centered organizations, to serve as an informational sharing opportunity for members of the respective organizations and to link resources that are available to maximize our efforts on campus and in the surrounding community. The BLAC has etched a place on the UCI campus – and will continue supporting the success of African American faculty, staff, students and alumni. The BLAC gala has raised more than $70,000 over 17 years in scholarships, recognizing numerous faculty and staff, and hosting hundreds of students at the annual Night of the Stars Gala.

Diverse Educational Experience and Doctoral Experience (DECADE) PLUS

The Graduate Division in partnership with the Division of Undergraduate Education’s (DUE) Student Success Initiatives (SSI) has implemented the Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience: Partnering in Leadership for Undergraduate Students (DECADE PLUS) Program. The goals of the DECADE PLUS program are to increase retention of incoming Chancellor’s Excellence Scholars through mentoring with a focus on academics from graduate leadership coaches and undergraduate peer mentors, and to provide a robust professional development experience that actively enhances the mentoring skill set of our graduate population. The DECADE PLUS program aims to ensure scholars’ success in their continued eligibility for scholarship renewal and pursuit of an undergraduate degree while enhancing the professional skill set of our graduate students.

UCI Minority Serving Institution Enhancement Award (Graduate Division and Office of Inclusive Excellence)

UCI Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Enhancement Award. Launched in 2019, the purpose of this award is to advance inclusive excellence in graduate education at UCI. The award provides a $10,000 top-off for newly admitted domestic doctoral and MFA students who have graduated from Historically Black College or University (HBCU) or other federally designated Minority Serving Institution two-year college or four-year institution of higher education. The top-off is disbursed over a two-year period, in $5,000 increments. The purpose of this program is to yield high achieving college graduates to join and further diversify our graduate programs. Nationally, UCI is distinctive for being a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities and a Minority Serving Institution. The campus is both a Hispanic Serving Institution and an Asian American Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institution. The UCI MSI fellowship program will help our graduate programs grow and prepare future leaders that are both broadly diverse and committed to inclusive excellence.