Holmes Cultural Diversity Center showcases new expansion with open house

MSU President Mark E. Keenum speaks during last Monday’s [March 20] open house for the expanded Holmes Cultural Diversity Center. PHOTO: Beth Wynn | Public Affairs

Mississippi State University’s Holmes Cultural Diversity Center has an expanded space to call home.

University officials and student group leaders gathered last Monday [March 20] for an open house celebrating the center’s recent second floor expansion in the Colvard Student Union.

“This space shows our great desire and passion for diversity, inclusion, tolerance and safety for all of our students here at Mississippi State,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said. “That’s what this center represents. We want to have a richness of diversity, people from different walks of life, different cultures, different backgrounds and different ideals. That’s what makes our university really strong. I’m proud that we have the most diverse university in the Southeastern Conference and the most diverse university among all the land-grant universities nationwide.”

Founded in 1989 and re-named in 1991, the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center supports 11 student organizations that promote diversity and inclusion at MSU. The center is named after Dr. Richard E. Holmes, MSU’s first African American student. Holmes, a Starkville native, earned a liberal arts degree from MSU in 1969, graduated from medical school at Michigan State University in 1977 and went on to have a successful career as a physician.

The expansion increases the center’s space by 85 percent to a total of 3,475 square feet. It includes flexible work and office space, student organization space and larger lounge areas. Ra’Sheda Forbes, MSU’s interim assistant vice president of multicultural affairs and director of the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, said she was excited to showcase the newly renovated space and begin putting it to good use.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to expand our office,” Forbes said. “It really demonstrates the university’s commitment to making sure under-represented students have a space they can call their own, as well as create opportunities for inclusion for other student groups on campus.”

Shawanda Brooks, a senior biological sciences major from Madison, said during Monday’s open house that the center has become her “hangout spot” during her time at MSU, with mentors helping her take on leadership roles and navigate campus life.

“The staff here work hard, they have a vision and a passion for the students here,” Brooks said. “These staff members will squeeze every ounce of the best out of you and they will work hard to shape you into a great leader.”

For more on the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, visit www.hcdc.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

James Carskadon | Public Affairs

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