Holy Cross Basketball Player Excels On and Off the Court

Marcellis Perkins ’19 hosts a campus radio show, writes a blog about diversity, and serves as an orientation leader
April 28th, 2017 by 

Marcellis Perkins '19 at WCHC, the campus radio station.
Perkins behind the mic at WCHC 88.1 FM, the campus radio station, where he records his radio show, "The Back Room," on Sundays at 8 p.m. Photo by: Tom Rettig

“Growing up, I had amazing role models in school,” says Marcellis Perkins ’19, a sociology major and basketball player from Virginia. “My coaches and teachers pushed me to be who I am today.”

At 21, Perkins is acutely aware of the importance of such individuals in his own young life. Determined to pay their efforts forward, he lives each day with a simple motto in mind: “Be the person you needed when you were younger.”

“I told myself, I want to be that person. You never know how the small [amount of] time you share with people can impact their lives,” he says.

Perkins was recruited to Holy Cross for basketball in 2013. Although he had never been to New England, the school’s commitment to service and its mission statement really resonated with him.

“I firmly believe in doing well for humanity,” he says. “During my visits to Holy Cross, I met a couple of professors who encouraged me not to think just about basketball, but also the academic portion and the [personal] growth that could come here.”

On the Court

Ultimately, Perkins decided to leave the warm neighborhoods of Chesapeake, Virginia, and take on the cold winters on Mount St. James. He played his first year, despite a previous surgery that prevented him from fully engaging on the court. He suffered a new injury to his shoulder this past August, and was forced to sit out games following surgery in October.

Despite his personal setbacks, Perkins has stayed committed to his team, attending practices and encouraging fellow players. And that commitment on the court, says coach Bill Carmody, is indicative of Perkins’ overall character. “He’s a hard worker, and usually people who work hard on the court work hard on other things,” he adds. “It carries over.”

In the Classroom

Indeed, Perkins has approached his entire college experience with tremendous passion. During his time in Monserrat, the College’s first-year student program that introduces the liberal arts through interdisciplinary seminars and residence hall living, he was fascinated by a course with Professor Virginia Ryan titled “Exploring Difference.”

“It really opened my eyes to talking about people that are different from us, but not separating ourselves from them,” Perkins recalls. “We can acknowledge people are different from us, but I don’t think we should separate ourselves from them or approach them from a place of superiority.”

On Air

Montserrat was also the inspiration for “The Back Room,” Perkins’ show on WCHC, the campus radio station. The title stands for “Being Aware, Conscious and Knowledgeable of the Room and Spaces.”

“I invite students on the show and let them pick the conversation. We’ve talked relationships, race identity, immigration, social and economic class, hyper masculinity, depression within the male community and more.”

Last semester, Perkins invited two female classmates to the show, one from the Dominican Republic, the other from Puerto Rico. A listener called in and prompted a discussion about how the education system in the U.S. differs from where they grew up.

“It was cool to see that people were listening and calling in to ask questions,” he says.

Marcellis Perkins '19 takes a shot during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Perkins rises above the Oregon Ducks to take a shot during the men’s basketball team’s historic appearance in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

In the Community

Helping students express their ideas in written format was next. Perkins discovered a 1970s Holy Cross publication called “Being Black at Holy Cross,” and was intrigued to read how students’ experiences back then echo what many students feel now. “Those students had an outlet for their raw feelings. So I told my friends, ‘We need to do something similar to this.’” Together they founded “Impact,” a campus blog that showcases students’ photos, videos, poems and articles.

He has also served as a mentor for Odyssey, a week-long summer program designed to help first generation students, students of color and immigrant students acclimate to college life. Having participated in the program himself as a first-year student, Perkins knew it was one more way he could give back. In addition to showing incoming students around campus and accompanying them to workshops, Perkins even offered his own presentation on a topic close to students’ hearts: “How to save dining dollars.”

“That year is a lot of searching and finding. I had someone there to encourage me and motivate me and I wanted to be that person for somebody else,” he says.

All Together Now

Rob Jones, associate director of the Office of Multicultural Education, is one of Perkins’ mentors, and the respect and admiration is mutual. Perkins’ ability to “actualize his passions” is tied to his willingness to experience new things and form new relationships, Jones says.

“Marcellis is not afraid to engage with anyone,” he adds. “He does not limit himself to people he knows.”

Meeting new people and learning about differences has been one of the most rewarding experiences at Holy Cross, Perkins says. It can also be one of the most exhausting.

“It gets tiring to live the mission every day. You really can’t fight every battle; it’s just not possible. But you can always put in effort or be an ally, and you can always show your support. And you can’t just stand in solidarity; you have to move forward in solidarity.”

Perkins is considering education as a possible career path, due in part to another mentor. His “Uncle Johnnie” is a second-grade teacher in Virginia, and as a child, Perkins helped his uncle set up his classroom before the school year began. Parents would approach his uncle and offer their profound thanks for teaching their children.

Witnessing their gratitude, and watching his uncle devote his time and energy so selflessly, inspired Perkins to coin the nickname “Candlelight” for his uncle.

“He burns himself out to light someone else’s fire,” he says.

Written by Mary Cunningham ’17 for the Spring 2017 issue of Holy Cross Magazine


About Holy Cross Magazine

Holy Cross Magazine (HCM) is the quarterly alumni publication of the College of the Holy Cross. The award-winning publication is mailed to alumni and friends of the College and includes intriguing profiles, make-you-think features, alumni news, exclusive photos and more. Visit magazine.holycross.edu/about to contact HCM, submit alumni class notes, milestones, or letters to the editor.

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PRESENTERS:Ifrad Islam, Associate Director of Healthcare Economics at Optum (UnitedHealth...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/24/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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GE Meet & Greet Session
9/25/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 304(05)
Come meet with GE to learn more about their internship program.Selected...
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Christie's Education Graduate Art Program Information Session
9/25/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406
Come learn about Christie's Education, of Christie's Auction House,...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/25/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/25/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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7 C's of Social Change Part 2
9/26/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 401
Open to Campus Community Only
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/26/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/26/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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GE On-Campus Recruiting
9/26/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about opportunities at GE...
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Nielsen Meet & Greet
9/27/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406
Meet & Greet to learn about the Nielsen Company and finance internships...
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Meredith Terretta Lecture
9/27/2017
Africana Studies
Smith Laboratories 154
Open to the Public
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/27/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Putnam Investments On-Campus Interviews
9/27/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Apply in Crusader Connections for opportunities with Putnam Investments!...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/27/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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Environmental Studies Alumni Career Panel
9/28/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 408(09)
Come hear Holy Cross Environmental Studies alums talk about their...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/28/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/28/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
See More >>


Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/29/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/29/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
See More >>


Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/30/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery Open to the Public
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/30/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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Male Involvement Coalition (MIC)
10/2/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 320
Open to Campus Community Only
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Women in Finance Panel & Networking Event
10/2/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A/B/C -4th Fl
Hors d'oeuvres and networking following by an alumnae...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/2/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Deloitte On-Campus Interviews
10/2/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about opportunities at Deloitte...
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National Depression Screening Day
10/3/2017
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 5
Open to Campus Community Only
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National Depression Screening Day
10/3/2017
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 4
Open to Campus Community Only
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National Depression Screening Day
10/3/2017
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 3
Open to Campus Community Only
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National Depression Screening Day
10/3/2017
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 2
Open to Campus Community Only
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/3/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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RSM On-Campus Recruiting
10/3/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 408
Apply in Crusader Connections for opportunities with RSM! Open to Campus...
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RSM On-Campus Recruiting
10/3/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 407
Apply in Crusader Connections for opportunities with RSM! Open to Campus...
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Lecture: Julie Rubio on Hope for Common Ground
10/4/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
In the current political climate, common ground can seem impossible...
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7 C's of Social Change (Event canceled)
10/4/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 304(05)
Open to Campus Community Only
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/4/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Silicon Valley Bank On-Campus Interviews
10/4/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Apply in Crusader Connections for opportunities with Silicon Valley...
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Race: The Power of an Illusion Part 2
10/5/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
*Episode II – “The Story We Tell” uncovers the roots...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/5/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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EY On-Campus Interviews
10/5/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 407
Apply in Crusader Connections to interview on campus with EY! Open...
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EY On-Campus Interviews
10/5/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406
Apply in Crusader Connections to interview on campus with EY! Open...
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EY On-Campus Interviews
10/5/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Apply in Crusader Connections to interview on campus with EY! Open...
See More >>


EY On-Campus Interviews
10/5/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 403
Apply in Crusader Connections to interview on campus with EY! Open...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/6/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/7/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery Open to the Public
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Finance Boot Camp 2017
10/9/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 208
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Finance Boot Camp 2017
10/10/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Smith Laboratories 155
Open to Campus Community Only
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Male Involvement Coalition (MIC)
10/16/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 320
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Lecture: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz on Googling for Hate
10/16/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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Lecture: Kevin Esvelt on Gene Editing
10/16/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Kimball Hall Seelos Theater
When should we edit nature? Kevin Esvelt, assistant professor of M.I.T....
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Carney, Sandoe & Assoc. Info Session
10/16/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 304
Learn more about K-12 Teaching and Administrative positions at private...
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Carney, Sandoe & Assoc. On-Campus Interviews
10/17/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Apply in Crusader Connections for K-12 Teaching and Administrative...
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Reading by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
10/18/2017
English
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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William James College Info Session - Careers in Psychology and Behavioral Health
10/18/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 407
Come to this info session presented by Dr. Bruce Ecker of William James...
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Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/19/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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Fidelity Investments On-Campus Recruiting
10/20/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about and apply for opportunities...
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Fidelity Investments On-Campus Recruiting
10/20/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about and apply for opportunities...
See More >>


Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/20/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/21/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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COES Dinner
10/23/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A - 4th Fl
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Book Launch: Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Jesuits
10/23/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Help us commemorate the newly published Cambridge Encyclopedia...
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Athlete Alumni Networking Night
10/24/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite B/C - 4th Fl
The Holy Cross Career Crusaders Networking Night is...
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Athlete Alumni Networking Night
10/24/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A - 4th Fl
The Holy Cross Career Crusaders Networking Night is a...
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Lecture: Charles Camosy Looks Beyond the Abortion Wars
10/24/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University,...
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Washington Semester Program Information Session
10/24/2017
Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 401
The Washington Semester Program is a highly competitive, semester-long...
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Open Enrollment Assistance
10/24/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
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7 C's of Social Change
10/31/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 320
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Lecture: Alan Rosen on Jewish Religious Life and Practice During the Holocaust
11/1/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Alan Rosen, Kraft-Hiatt scholar-in-residence, will give a talk...
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Poetry Reading by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
11/2/2017
English
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


Black Student Union Presents "Griot"
11/3/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Ballroom & Dunn Rcpt
Open to the Public
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Open Enrollment Assistance
11/3/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Creating an Inclusive Campus: Skills and Practice
11/6/2017
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
This workshop will take diversity and inclusion from theory to...
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Race: The Power of an Illusion Part 3
11/10/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
*Episode III – “The House We Live In” focuses not...
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Matthew Hughey Lecture
11/13/2017
Africana Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu
11/15/2017
Asian Studies
Dinand Library Levis Browsing Room
Open to the Public
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"I Can't Remember What I Just Read!"
11/16/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406(07)
Learn strategies to focus your attention and get more out of the...
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Open Enrollment Assistance
11/21/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Study Smarter, Not Harder!
11/28/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 408(09)
Why is it so hard to remember what you just heard in lecture or...
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See All