Spring Semester Comes to an End

2016 Nidia and Luis FragaThe spring semester has been exciting and exhilarating.  It began with a two- week celebration highlighting the morphing of the civil rights movement from 1960 to 2016. Multicultural Student Programs and Services’ Interrace Forum and Africana Studies and Institute for Latino Studies luncheon covered the various components of the civil rights movements.  MSPS compared the 60’s efforts led by Dr. King to the Black Lives Movement, where Africana Studies and ILS did a comparison of the Black and Brown movements. They also discussed possible collaborations.  The Fr. Hesburgh and Dr. King mosaic project featured in LaFortune Student Center was a effort between students, faculty, administrators and staff representing the joining of two men committed to the betterment of society.  Thank you to our co-sponsors and Notre Dame Community members, who worked tirelessly to send the message that Our Lady’s University aspires to be a place that is welcoming to all and a place where civil discourse is appreciated.  This is another form of intellectual growth for all who are “Under The Dome.”

Throughout the remainder of the spring, Dr. Shannon Dee Williams, professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville revealed the history of blacks within the Catholic Church as the keynote for Black History Month. She shared the struggles and successes of nuns and priests. As part of the Asian Heritage Month, Jennifer 8 Lee, former New York Times journalist, shared the history of Fortune Cookies and Asian Cuisine. The misinformation and assumption of what is Chinese food was entertaining and educational.

The year ended with many of our students being recognized for their contributions to the Notre Dame Community. Congratulations to Hesburgh Award Winner – Preston Igwe `16 and the other Student Award recipients: Ray `Von Jones `16, Chizo Ekechukwu `16, and Leana Jonassaint `16.

2016 Student Leadership Awards      2016 Gaby Mercurio


The academic year ended with MSPS sponsoring recognition ceremonies acknowledging the academic achievements of two hundred and fifteen MSPS constituents during Commencement Weekend. At the Africana Ceremony, Arienne Thompson Ploude `04 addressed the graduates on their theme “We Did It All” realizing the pitfalls and successes that they will experience as their life journey continues. Latin Honors Cum Lande recipients: Arlia Delphonse – Japanese & Gender Studies Major; Obiageliaku Ekwueme – Psychology & Pre-Health; Adam Henderson – Political Science; Francesca Simon – Political Science & Africana Studies; Dina Yared – Political Science & Spanish were presented with a gift from MSPS as a result of their achievement.  During the Asian and Pacific Islander Ceremony, API Alumni Chair Andrew Mascarenhas ’03 shared his life’s journey and challenged the graduates to remain open to what life has in store for them. The API Board gave their 2016 Distinguished Student Awards to Crystal Chen – Goodspeed `16; Michael Dinh `16, Mike Lin `16, Khanh Mai `16, Gaby Mercurio `16, Sneha Modi `16, Dong Gue On `16, Luning Selina Wang `16 and Hansel Weihs `16.  These students were selected because they demonstrated outstanding leadership and remarkable commitment to the Asian American community throughout their tenure at Notre Dame.  Thank you to Dr. Laura Murillo, speaker for the Latino Recognition Ceremony, Elaine DeBassige `92 and 2016 Honorary Doctorate recipients Pauline Yu and Arturo Sandoval for gracing the graduates with words of inspiration.  Also, I want to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to the faculty, administrators, staff and alumni, who served in various capacities to ensure this was a memorable weekend for our graduates.

Have a Blessed Summer,

Iris L. Outlaw

Iris L. Outlaw `90 MSA


Multicultural Student Programs and Services


In Like a Lamb: Out Like a Lion

Yes, this is a flipped version of the quote meteorologists use to describe March. Prior to Spring Break MSPS club activities were invisible. The statement reflects how MSPS clubs impacted the Notre Dame and Michiana communities after the break. I had the pleasure of witnessing the multiple talents of our students in the 2015 Luau sponsored by the Hawai`I Club. More than 200 students from the surrounding universities/colleges and cities were immersed in Hawaiian culture ranging from performances to cuisine. It was a pleasurable escape from the sunny yet blistery day.

The following week Shades of Ebony held their Women’s Week Celebration in conjunction with the Gender Relations Center. The week was filled with panel discussions, events including local middle and high school students and their annual dinner.  Dr. Eleanor Walker (`84), Haley Scott DeMaria (`95), and Amanda Peña (`15) shared their experiences as women pursuing their Notre Dame degrees.  They acknowledged the foresight of Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C. to make Notre Dame a co-educational institution and enriched the experiences of those who attended.

The Latino Student Alliance continued the global excursion with the 2015 Latin Expressions Raíces: return to our roots. The audience viewed the Latino Diaspora through the lens of the hosts, who were role playing as prospective students on a campus visit. The audience was engaged and joined the performers on the stage during the closing song. Congratulations to Erik Mendoza and Nidia Ruelas 2015 Julian Samora Scholarship recipients, who were selected after a rigorous interview process and review of their involvement in the Notre Dame and Latino communities. The Hispanic Alumni Board announced the winners at Latin X.

The Black Cultural Arts Council ended the month with their signature fashion show, “Risqué.” Sheldon Day, Marquis Dickerson and Mario Berkley navigated the audience through the world fashion that challenged the senses. The audience rocked to the music and were delighted by spring fashions and entertained by the re-visioning of the infamous Tom Cruise scene from Risky Business. The Black Alumni of Notre Dame presented eight of the fourteen Frazier Thompson Scholarships at the event. Congratulations to the 2015- 2015 recipients:  Derek Bland, Chizo Ekechukwu, Patricia Ekwueme, Kereknaan Fiannaan, Ashley Henry, Ray`Von Jones, Anna Kiely, Lena Madison, Alexandra Rice, Francesca Simon, Trenton Templeton, Amber Thomas, Aaron Vernon, and Steven Waller. These students met the academic requirements and have been actively involved in the African American and Notre Dame communities.

The 29th Annual Student Leadership Awards Banquet highlighted the achievements of MSPS constituents who have made a significant impact on the Notre Dame community. We would like to acknowledge the winners also:  Irish Clover Award – Hermana Abera; Student Leadership Awards – Demetrius Murphy, Ally Kwun, Reagan Li, Deandra Cadet; John W. Gardner Student Leadership Award – Christina Guiterrez;  Mike Russo Spirit Award – Lauren Vidal; Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C. Award – Matthew Wong; and Rev. A Leonard Collins , C.S.C. Award –Juan Rangel.  The last three are the highest Student Affairs Awards given to undergraduate students. Kudos to all the winners and numerous nominees. It was an honor to see these students recognized in the presence of faculty, administrators and their peers.

April has several major events occurring to keep the campus engaged. April 11 – Wabruda’s Black Man’s Think Tank – Finding Your Passion, FASO – 2015 Fiestang KAPAMILYA of the same family, April 17 – Shades’ Skating Party, and  April 18 – Voices of Faith Spring Concert; PFresh Show. Please support these clubs by coming and bring a friend or two.

Lastly, Welcome the Spring Weather. Look forward to seeing you at these events and on campus.


Ms. Iris  

Matt’s NCORE Reflection

I would first like to thank you for allowing me this opportunity to attend the 27th Annual NCORE. Although I was somewhat disappointed to hear the present location of this years conference was at Indianapolis while previous years have been in much more renowned cities, that did not diminish the experience at all. Never have I attended a conference teeming with people of similar but yet different backgrounds striving for the same goal of diversity. It was my honor to be there as a representative for Notre Dame, and next year and in future years, I am sure that others will be able to gain as much as Ihave from NCORE.

Considering this was my first ever NCORE, I was coming in somewhat blind. Although I did try to use the website in order to gain a clearer layout of the conference, I found it nearly impossible to navigate a whole weeks worth of author signings, events, conferences, and caucuses. As someone who likes to plan out events to make the most out of his time, would it be possible for us to be provided the Program and Resource Guide earlier to our arrival? If not, a condensed list of workshops sorted by interest (Asian, Black, Latino, Multiracial or LGBTQ interests) would be appreciated. In addition, a brief highlight on the different caucuses held during the conference would help understand what else NCORE may offer. In understanding the diverse options offered by NCORE, I believe it would give participants a goal in mind. It’s hard to accomplish everything I wanted to in just five days, but once I understood the setup, I was able to divide the workshops I wanted to attend evenly. How I tried to arrange my schedule was to divide the conference into three parts: further reflections of self, understanding of other cultures and mindsets, and to have some fun as well. Other will perhaps have a different agenda in mind coming into NCORE, but I think it would be great to at least give next year attendees a better picture of what to possibly expect at NCORE.

In my attempts to understand self, I decided to attend the Asian American Pre-
Conference for the first part of NCORE. It was here that I was introduced to ProfessorMatthew R. Mock of John F. Kennedy University. I would highly recommend him as a potential Asian/Asian American speaker at Notre Dame. His quirky behavior along with his deep insights of the Asian/Asian American psyche would make him an instant hitwith students. He constantly jokes that he is a “passionate Asian”, and his passion iseasily seen and readily accepted.

The greatest aspects of NCORE are the networking opportunities. Beyond finding potential speakers, this was a great time to meet new people, make new friends, and have deep, meaningful conversations. I would encourage everyone who attends NCORE to purposely seek these types of interactions, as I have found this to be the most enlightening aspect of NCORE for me. You begin to learn things that would not necessarily be taught in a classroom. I met a student who was adopted and learned the struggles she faced as an Asian American adoptee. I heard the amazing story of a woman chased away from her country, and I had a more than 4-hour conversation with a gentleman concerning the crossroads of race and sexuality (he actually sent me his thesis NCORE about this topic). Even though I will probably never encounter these unique individuals again, their stories will have affected the lens in which I view the world. In my opinion, that is exactly the whole purpose of NCORE. I not only had the fortune of meeting faculty, administration, and students from various other colleges, but I also had the fortune of meeting many Notre Dame faculty and administration I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet. I had a great lunch discussion with Dr. Christine Caron Gebhardt concerning the GRC’s role on campus and what can be improved. I also had the great opportunity to talk and connect with Kim Pho about the Asian American experience particularly at Notre Dame. Looking back, I wish I were able to meet the other individuals from Notre Dame prior to going to NCORE. I believe this will help us students put a face to a name for faculty and administration that are fighting the same fight we as students of color are facing.

I have learned a little something with all the different workshops and caucuses Iattended, but probably the most revealing to me was attending the white caucus. It does sound strange for me, an Asian American, to attend a caucus with the purpose of helping people who classify themselves as white to network, but that’s exactly why I went: to get out of my comfort zone and help myself understand the majority experience. It was surprising to say the least to hear what the members of the caucus had to share and their insights on NCORE and their work back on campus. Too many times do we focus on the minority experience that we forget the majority is also affected in this “raced” world. I heard stories of various University’s Diversity Programs and Services, and how they are usually the only white person there. How people of color would look at them with caution wondering, “Why is he/she here?” or “I am not here to absolve your white guilt”. In these stories, I discovered that the same experiences we as minorities face are as real and harmful in the white world as well.  My other intention in the white caucus was to hear their views on white privilege and how to navigate this touchy subject. Given the amount of controversy going on at Notre Dame and the particular views held by certain students, I wanted to understand how present the minority’s view of white privilege that could lead to constructive questioning rather than an argument with no real goals accomplished. Much of the advice and insight I did receive was rather disheartening in my opinion, but it has definitely helped. Many of them admitted to rejecting the existence of white privilege in the past before they finally understood what it truly was. In their advice as white people and as someone who struggled with that concept, they told me it ultimately was themselves who had to make that change, but my voice could have some swaying power in their understanding of white privilege.

Just a small recommendation would be to slightly change the business cards given to us to hand out to others. With permission, I think it would be great to have our cell phone numbers included on the business cards. Many times I found myself having to write down my cell phone number to people interested in talking or meeting up later that week. Including any other pertinent information on the business cards would be great as well.

As for suggestions on topics that should be expanded or included in next years NCORE, there should be more discussions on the crossroads of different identities. There were many workshops on being Asian, Asian American, Black, or Latino, but there were few in discussing being Asian and gay, mixed races, or being Latino and appearing white. I understand that the complex nature of diversity sometimes has to be boiled down to a one-dimensional view in order to simplify it, but we cannot neglect the other facets of diversity as well. Other possible topics for discussions are the less known parts of the LGBTQ community: the B and the T. In going to some of the LGBTQ workshops, I noticed how the research or lectures tended to disregard the other groups entirely.


Matt Wong2014-05-29 17.51.29 (1)2014-06-30 19.42.01