This timeline highlights important developments in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UWG. See how DEI efforts began and evolved through the decades by viewing each of the sections below.
Diversity and Inclusion at UWG from 2010 to Present
January 2010 - The University of West Georgia held its inaugural Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. program. The speaker was Elisabeth Omilami., CEO-Hosea Helps; actress. The theme: “No Time to Sit Down Now.”
2010 - Richards College of Business established a matriculation 3+ 1 agreement with students from China (3 years at their home institution and 1 year at UWG). Upon completion, students receive a dual degree (from both institutions). This program was Initiated by Dr. Schaniel.
Exchange students attended West Georgia for first time.
2011 - UWG Office of Institutional Diversity hosted the month long “The Carver High Story” on the second floor of Row Hall. The exhibit featured a collection of memorabilia, visual and musical material that told the story of George Washington Carver High School (1954-1969) and the evolution of public education of African American in Carroll County from the early 1900’s to the late 1960’s.
2011 - Gender and Sexuality Studies minor established.
2013 - 2017 Living Legacy series established by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The purpose was to recognize distinguished individuals or groups who have demonstrated courage, integrity, tenacity, commitment, and service to humanity. The living legacy recipient(s) exemplified excellence in their chosen career path, civic engagement, and personally. First recipient: James Pack (Montford Point Marines).
March 20, 2014 - Dr. Kyle Marrero (President of University of West Georgia), Mrs. Faye Williams (daughter of Mrs. L. Williams), Mr. Travis Williams (son of Mrs. L. Williams), Mr. Clarence Williams, Jr. (son of Mrs. L. Williams; via conference call), Ms. Gwen Engram (close family friend), Diane Homesly (Director of Development and Alumni Relations), Frank Pritchett (Director of Alumni Relations), Dr. Bill Estes (Vice President for University Advancement), Maggie Worth (Director of Communications & Strategy) and Deirdre Rouse (Interim Director, Center for Diversity and Inclusion) met to discuss past injustices and finalize plans commemorating the 50th anniversary of Lillian Williams being admitted to West Georgia.
April 12, 2014 - Oak tree dedication for Mrs. Lillian Williams- This commemorative 50th anniversary event was attended by the Williams family, friends, retired educators, clergy, faculty, staff, students, and elected officials. Clarence Williams, the oldest son of Lillian Williams was the spokesperson on behalf of the Williams family. Councilman Gerald Byrd gave a proclamation for the occasion on behalf of the City of Carrollton.
July 4, 2014 - Dr. Sethna is honored by the Carnegie Foundation by being named a Great Immigrant to the US – the Pride of America. Other past awardees include such prominent immigrants as Albert Einstein and Henry Kissinger.
August 2014 - President Kyle Marrero appointed and established the first University of West Georgia Presidential Committee on Campus Inclusion (PCCI) co-chaired by Dr. Lara Willox and Dr. Betsy Dahms.
September 9, 2014 – University of West Georgia, in collaboration with The Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Ingram Library, and Carver High School, unveil the Lillian Williams Library exhibit and dedication. A video dedication was also created by UWG University Communications and Marketing.
2014 - The Center for Adult Learners and Veterans was established.
2015 - University of West Georgia conducted first Climate Survey to develop a lens of campus culture.
July 2016 - Dr. Yves Rose Porcena hired as the first Chief Diversity Officer.
2017 - Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) Scholar residency established. This residency provides a faculty member with the unique opportunity to inform the work of the CDI with their area of expertise while also affording them the chance to develop a project rooted in diversity and inclusion. Dr. Betsy Dahms was the first CDI scholar.
2017 - Asian Studies Minor established in the Department of History.
2017 - University of West Georgia established the Diversity Champions & Action Council.
September 2017 - UWG hosted the AIDS Memorial Quilt for the first time to celebrate the lives of people who have died of AIDS-related causes. Each panel that is a part of this quilt is 3'x6'. Two panels were sent with one panel including West Georgia College Alum Roy “Tinker “Templeton, whose family and friends visited the quilt often. Supported by: Responsible Sexuality Committee, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, UWG Art Department, Human Resources, Counseling Services, Health Services & Positive Response.
October 2017 - Lambda hosted Pride on campus.
May 2018 - Two new awards, the Beheruz N. Sethna Diversity Champion and Sustainability Champion, were established by President Kyle Marrero and the Best Of the West Committee to recognize achievements in diversity. The Beheruz N. Sethna Diversity Champion award recognizes and honors the inherent value of equity and diversity and celebrates the positive impact diversity has upon our community. The Sustainability Champion award recognizes someone who goes out of their way to develop a culture of sustainability throughout campus and who truly embodies the term “leader."
August 2018 - University of West Georgia received its first Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT into Diversity.
October 2018 - University of West Georgia Inaugural Interfaith Campaign launched.
November 2018 - The Bonner Plantation Archaeological Survey committee – consisting of representatives from Academic Affairs; Business and Finance; University Advancement; Office of the President; and Southern Research – convened to discuss the possibility of an archaeological survey near Melson Hall to verify theories that the area is the site of a former cemetery. On December 18, 2018, Southern Research conducted an initial survey and comprehensive mapping.
April 10, 2019 - National Pan Hellenic Council Garden Groundbreaking is held in East Commons area. This was an initiative from student voices such as Jordan Watson, Wesley Hammonds, and supported by administrators Dr. Porcena, Dr. Kyle Marrero, Dr. Xavier Whitaker & Brendan Bowen.
August 2019 – Dr. Stacy Boyd became the Interim Chief Diversity Officer.
October 2019 - UWG held its first full LGBTQ week October 7-11, 2019, including Safe Zone trainings, Q-chats, speaker AC Dumlao of Call Me They, a campus pride festival, and other events, culminating with the first Pride Festival in Carrollton at the Carrollton Amp located on Adamson Square. Sponsors: Queer Student Alliance (QSA); Supporters: Center for Diversity & Inclusion. QSA walked in the Atlanta Pride parade as a student organization for the first time.
October 14, 2019 - National Pan Hellenic Council Garden ribbon cutting at the UWG Oaks Amphitheater 9:30am.
Dec. 16, 2019 - March 22, 2020 - Dr. Stuart Rayfield serves as Interim President. She is the first woman to hold this position at UWG.
Diversity and Inclusion at UWG from 2000 to 2010
2000 - West Georgia implemented and received the Goizueta Scholarship program (through Lumina) for Latino/Hispanic students.
2000 - 2001 - Upon Dr. Sethna’s recommendation in his interim SVC role, the Board of Regents adopted the policy of stopping the tenure clock for reasons of childbirth, childcare, or elder care.
2001 - Latin American Studies (LAS) minor established by Dr. Marjorie Snipes. UWG was the first in the USG to have a minor in LAS.
2001 - Speaker of the House Tom Murphy and Dr. Sethna inaugurated the Holocaust Center in the Ingram Library. The inauguration is attended by prominent members of the Jewish faith from Atlanta.
July 2001 - Dr. Beheruz Sethna invited the Carver High School classes of 1955 & 1956 West Georgia for a reception and reconciliation celebration.
July 1, 2001 - Dr. Melanie McClellan started her tenure as the first female VP at West Georgia (VP of Student Services, later VP for Student Affairs).
December 2001/ Fall 2002 - UWG established the George Washington Carver High Descendant scholarship. $5,000 annual award. 3.0 GPA for those who apply. More information about this is available at My Plainview.
2002 - The University of West Georgia embraced the University System of Georgia’s African American Male Initiative. Dr. Jack Jenkins, UWG Psychology Professor & Dean of the Graduate School, was on the committee of the USG initiative.
2004 - Safe Zone training, a workshop to educate about LGBTQ+ populations, was established on campus, courtesy of Dr. Bridgette Gunnels and Dr. Daniel Helminiak.
2005 - At the George Washington Carver High School 50th Anniversary Celebration, UWG President Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, offered a heartfelt apology to the class of 1955 whose applications for admission to West Georgia College in 1955 had been summarily rejected as a result of racism.
2006 - The Office of Minority Affairs and Social Equity was created. Dr. Jack Jenkins was appointed as the Special Associate to the President of the inaugural office. (Currently, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion).
2007 - Dr. Sethna was appointed Interim Executive Vice Chancellor of the University System of Georgia. He was the first minority to hold this title. He later appointed Dr. Sandra Stone (professor at the University of West Georgia) to be Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. She was the first female to hold this title.
Diversity and Inclusion at UWG from 1990 to 2000
1992 - West Georgia College adopted the Minority Achievement Program, now known as the Multicultural Achievement Program. MAP provides mentoring and recognition of academic achievement for underrepresented students.
1993 - Women Studies minor established in the College of Arts and Sciences.
1993 - West Georgia College established USG’s only Master's in Gerontology Program. The program ended in 2005-6.
1994 - Beheruz N. Sethna, with M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University and bachelor’s degree with honors from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, and MBA from the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad, became President of West Georgia College, the first ethnic minority to head a predominately white or racially integrated institution in Georgia.
1995 - The first class of the Advanced Academy of Georgia entered West Georgia College. A former Fulbright scholar, Sethna successfully approached the Faculty Senate to establish an “Advanced Academy” at WGC. The Advanced Academy of Georgia was approved by State authorities and became the first of its kind in Georgia, an early entrance residential program for high-achieving high school students. An alumnus of the Advanced Academy, Ajay Pillai, would later become the youngest person to earn a bachelor’s and the youngest person to earn a medical doctorate in the state of Georgia.
June 12, 1996 - West Georgia became a university. Already president of West Georgia College, Dr. Sethna became the first person of Indian origin ever to be president of a university in the United States.
1999 - Africana Studies minor established by Dr. Aaron MacKinnon, Dr. Lisa Gezon, and Dr. Walter Rucker, as an extension of an XIDS course offering. Dr. A. MacKinnon taught the foundation course in 1998- 99.
1999 - 2000 - Dr. Sethna is appointed Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the first minority to be appointed to this position in Georgia.
Diversity and Inclusion at UWG from 1980 to 1990
1980’s - West Georgia College Student Development Center established a student Disability Office with Ann Phillips serving as a counselor/disability coordinator.
January 1984 - The first International Night was held. Students prepared and presented cuisines and entertainment from their country of origin. Only $100 was designated for food because the organizers were not sure of the interest. The food ran out in 10 minutes!
May 1986 - Responsible Sexuality Committee was initiated by Ann Philips, Angela Horrison and Sylvia Shortt. This committee still exists today.
1987 - The University System of Georgia mandated the Black Achievement Program (BAP) to support the retention and matriculation efforts of minority students. Dr. Jackie Michael led the charge. The program was renamed Minority Achievement Program (MAP).
Diversity and Inclusion at UWG from 1970 to 1980
January 1, 1970 – Charles Wilson was the first African American administrator. He served several roles: a counselor in student affairs, minority student recruiter, and affirmative action officer. Mr. Wilson also received faculty rank in Developmental Studies.
Dr. Gordon Finnie, a history professor, was an instrumental advocate for minority students.
Early 1970’s - Nancy Boxill was the first African American to be hired as full time faculty in the Psychology Department. She worked in the department for several years before earning her doctorate at Union Grad School. She later became faculty at Clark College and a Fulton County Commissioner.
1971-72 - Students for Gay Education and Awareness was formed. It would become Lambda in the late 1990’s and Queer Student Alliance in May 2019.
Mid 70’s - The Black Student Alliance created a gathering place for Black students and all interested students in the lower level of Martha Munroe. This gathering place was later moved to the University Communication Center (UCC), and was later known as the Black Cultural Center (BCC). The BCC is now located in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Row Hall.
Diversity and Inclusion at UWG before 1970
1933 - The first Alumni Association was organized.
1963 - Mrs. Lillian Williams became the first African-American student to enroll at the University of West Georgia, then West Georgia College, and graduate in 1967. Her first two courses were Geography and English. A stately oak located outside of Sanford Hall commemorates Mrs. Lillian Williams, a dedicated Carroll County Educator.
1964 - Richard Glanton was the first full-time African-American male student admitted to and to graduate from West Georgia College; Class of 1968. he received a Bachelors in English.
1969 - The Black Student Alliance was formed at West Georgia College. The BSA was the first minority student organization to form on campus.