Dominican celebrates "Unity in Diversity" Day

Dominican honored “Unity in Diversity” on campus March 25 with a series of events beginning in Guzman Hall and culminating with the Melba Beals Awards for Excellence in Diversity and the annual Soul Candy celebration in Angelico Hall.

Communications major Yema Khalif Manyanki received the Student Award at the Melba Beals Awards for Excellence in Diversity  while Julia van der Ryn, director of Dominican's Service Learning program, and Todd Herriott, director of Disability Services, received the "Faculty Award" and "Staff Award," respectively.

The day of celebration, education and community began in Guzman Lecture Hall with a keynote address – “Building a Stronger Movement for Equity and Social Justice in Education” -- by Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, Dean and Professor of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco.

Dr. Kumashiro's keynote address was followed by a “Global Gathering” of cultures and heritages with international food in the Angelico Hall lobby. The awards ceremony started at 7 p.m. in Angelico Concert Hall, followed by Soul Candy XII, Dominican's annual free live musical talent show that attracted a crowd of close to 400.

The Melba Beals Awards for Excellence in Diversity honors Dr. Beals who retired last year from Dominican as Chair Emeritus of the Department of Communications and Media Studies. Dr. Beals joined Dominican in 1999 after a successful career as a print and broadcast journalist. In 2001, she was a founding member of the Diversity Action Group, which is credited with collaboratively transforming Dominican into a diversity affirming institution at a time when the University’s student body was becoming increasingly diverse.

Last year, in the inaugural “Unity in Diversity” celebration, pre-med senior and Black Student Union president Alissa Gumbs received the first Student Award. Dr. Asayehgn Desta, professor of economics and finance in the Barowsky School of Business, received the Faculty Award and Campus Ministry's Lianni Castro, campus minister, was honored with the Staff Award.

For more information on the Unity in Diversity program, contact Jaime Castner at (415) 257-1300 or email jaime.castner@dominican,edu.

For more information on Soul Candy, contact Dr. Henry Shriebman in the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at (415) 948-6659 or email

March 18, 2015