Dominican celebrates "Unity in Diversity" week

Dominican's annual "Unity in Diversity” week culminated on Wednesday, March 23, with the Melba Beals Awards for Excellence in Diversity as part of Soul Candy XIV, Dominican's longstanding, live performing arts showcase.

Black Student Union vice president Jennessica Holliday, a sophomore majoring in History and Humanities in the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, received the Student Award for Excellence in Diversity. She is or has been a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the Green Club, Rotoract Club, and a cheerleader for the Penguins at basketball games. Last summer she participated in the LeaderShape Institute in the Barowsky School of Business at Dominican.

Psychology professor and Dominican alumna LeeAnn Bartolini '79 was named the Faculty Award for Excellence in Diversity. She has been on faculty at Dominican since 1985 and from 1995-2001 directed Dominican's Honor Program and co-founded the Women and Gender Studies program at the University.

The Melba Beals Awards for Excellence in Diversity honor 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.

"Unity in Diversity" week at Dominican started on March 21 with a keynote address in Angelico Concert Hall by Elaine Brown, former Black Panther Party leader. The event was co-produced by the Office of Diversity and Equity and the Black Student Union (BSU) at Dominican. Ms. Brown is author of A Taste of Power and The Condemnation of Little B. A Taste of Power was recently optioned by HBO for its miniseries The Black Panthers.

The event was free and open to the public.

“Unity in Diversity” events at Dominican continued on March 22, when the Inter-Club Council (ICC) hosted a special screening and discussion of Spike Lee's new film Chi-Raq in Meadowlands Assembly Hall. ICC accepted donations and sold popcorn, candy and chips at the event as a fundraiser to produce future programs that promote diversity.

On March 23, the day's program began with a Global Cultures Fair on the lawn between Guzman Hall and Angelico Hall. The fair was an opportunity for the students of the diverse Dominican community to share food, music, history and customs from their home countries. It was sponsored by the Barowsky School of Business’ Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS), Global Ambassadors, ELS Language Centers and the Global Education Office. (GEO).

The Global Cultures Fair was followed by Soul Candy XIV and the Melba Beals Awards for Excellence in Diversity ceremony in Angelico Concert Hall.  Members of the Diversity Action Group presented the awards.

Soul Candy, created in 2008 to reflect and represent the diversity of culture on campus, showcases the talent of Dominican’s students. More than 20 acts appeared during the show, featuring poetry, dance, ethnic and cultural dance and music of every genre. Sponsors included AHSS, Kapamilya Club, the Muslim Student Association (MSA), BSU, Global Ambassadors, and the Office of Unity and Diversity.

CLICK HERE to listen to the live Penguin Radio Podcast of Soul Candy XIV

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

For more information on the Unity in Diversity program, contact Suresh Appavoo, Dean of the Office for Diversity and Equity, at (415) 482-3598 or email or contact Jaime Libby at (415) 257-1300 or email

Poster by Meghan Sherry, Senior Graphic Art and Design major 

March 7, 2016