students walking on walkway through campus

Campus News and Stories on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Sharing how our community lives diversity, equity and inclusion

Students, faculty and staff come from many identities and backgrounds. Listening to these diverse stories helps us become more aware of not only our great similarities, but how our differences greatly benefit all of us. It helps us realize our College Mission, to be dedicated to preparing students to be curious, engaged, ethical, and purposeful citizens and leaders.

These are their stories of service, activism, teaching and learning. Read on to find out how the people who make up our College are broadening their minds, sharing experiences with one another and being the change they want to see in the world.

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Attorney and community leader Macarena Tamayo-Calabrese inspires students to “be the author of your own story”

May 17, 2023

As part of North Central College’s "Empowering Latino Communities" distinguished speaker series, the College welcomed Macarena Tamayo-Calabrese, president and CEO of Naper Settlement and executive director of the National Association of Women Lawyers.

Macarena Tamayo-Calabrese conducting a seminar.

2023 MLK Prayer Luncheon Video

January 20, 2023

In commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the North Central College Office of Multicultural Affairs held its annual prayer luncheon on January 16, 2023. North Central alumna Tracie Morris '02, chief people officer for Corewell Health, gave an inspiring keynote address regarding on putting inclusivity into action. The luncheon also featured music from Voices of Praise, North Central's student gospel choir, and comments from Interim North Central President Dr. Donna Carroll, College Chaplain Rev. Eric Doolittle, Assistant Director of Faith and Action Rev. Josiah Montgomery, and student leaders Serene Labadi '21/M '23, Morgan Harmon '23, and De'Jenae Phillips '23. Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs Karl Constant served as emcee for the event.

Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates culture and unites students

November 17, 2022

North Central College students got the opportunity to learn new cultural practices and embrace one another’s traditions during Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. Students, faculty and staff alike commemorated the month with a series of events dedicated to exploring Latinx and Hispanic practices from a number of perspectives: social, cultural and historical. 

A graphic for Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month at North Central College.

CEO of Spanish Public Media shares his story of personal triumph with North Central students

March 22, 2022

North Central College held the second event in its distinguished speaker series "Empowering Latino Communities," an address by Roberto Ramírez, founder & CEO of Spanish Public Media, on February 24. Ramírez spoke about what success means and provided advice from his own experience as a Latino immigrant and undocumented student on reaching goals and aspirations.

Roberto Ramirez speaks to North Central College students.

Honors Salon Series dives deeper into theme of social justice

March 11, 2022

The Honors Salon Series, hosted by North Central College’s Honors Program, is back for the spring 2022 semester and is examining new topics under the theme of social justice, a continuation of fall semester. A new lineup of speakers will present new issues, allowing the campus community to look at social justice from different perspectives.

The poster for the spring 2022 North Central College Honors Salon Series.

Campus climate survey builds toward inclusiveness

February 4, 2022

In September 2020, a Campus Climate Survey working group was established to assess the overall campus climate as part of a commitment to create a more inclusive North Central College. The research teams collected both qualitative and focus group data drawn from students, staff and faculty.

Climate Campus Survey

Bry’Shawna Walker recognized as 2021 Lincoln Laureate

December 15, 2021

In recognition of her active leadership on campus and passion for serving others, Bry’Shawna Walker ’22 was selected as North Central’s 2021 Lincoln Laureate. In the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, Student Laureates are honored by the Lincoln Academy “for their leadership and service in the pursuit of the betterment of humanity and for overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.”

Bry'Shawna Walker

Speaker series brings Latina and Latino judges to North Central campus

November 22, 2021

A new initiative from Jelena Sanchez, assistant professor of Spanish, is welcoming influential, inspiring Latino professionals to North Central College to share their stories with students. In November, the series began with the first Latino and Latina judge in Kane County, Illinois.

North Central College students gather at the first event in the Empowering Latino Communities speaker series.

Cardinal First program named “Example of Excelencia"

November 1, 2021

Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts to accelerate Latino student success in higher education, selected Cardinal First as a winner of its 2021 Examples of Excelencia award.

Cardinal First Program Named “Example of Excelencia’

Honors salon series explores new theme of social justice

October 13, 2021

This fall, the Honors Salon Series returned by popular demand with more presenters and topics surrounding a new theme: social justice. This time last year, North Central’s Honors Program debuted its first-ever salon series. Throughout the year, the program hosted 12 different salons around the theme of racial justice. The series featured faculty members across a range of departments presenting on topics, such as environmental racism, voter suppression and media depictions of race in the criminal justice system.

Honors Students

Faculty colloquium demonstrates campus commitment to educational equity and transfer student success

September 9, 2021

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Abiodun Gòkè-Paríolá's Fourth Annual Fall Faculty Colloquium on August 24 featured Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, director of the Office of Community College Research & Leadership at the University of Illinois. Zamani-Gallaher’s presentation “Building & Broadening On-Ramps for Transfer Students” challenged the College to move beyond being “transfer friendly” to being “transfer receptive.”

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Daniel Persinger ’21, fire chaplain: “I have something to give"

August 26, 2021

Despite a muscular dystrophy diagnosis, Daniel Persinger has fulfilled a lifelong ambition to work with firefighters, as a “volunteer” chaplain for the Rockford, New Milford and Blackhawk fire departments.


Daniel Persinger

North Central College appoints Dr. Rebecca Gordon as first-ever chief diversity officer

June 30, 2021

North Central College today announced that Dr. Rebecca Gordon, assistant vice president for equity, diversity, and inclusion; Title IX/504 coordinator, will become the College’s first-ever chief diversity officer and will join the President’s cabinet effective July 1 in this new role.

Dr. Rebecca Gordon

Teaching the art of research brings unexpected rewards—and initiates change in racial attitudes

June 30, 2021

Mara Berkland, professor of communication at North Central College, found an enthusiastic group of research assistants in an unlikely place: a high school hundreds of miles away in Buffalo, N.Y. She has been partnering with students at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute, a private college prep school for boys, to conduct a climate study on ingrained racial attitudes at the school.

Mara Berkland

North Central faculty move the conversation on LGBTQIA+ issues forward during Pride Month … and always

June 30, 2021

In recognition of Pride Month, North Central College looked to highlight some of the outstanding work by our faculty to help North Central students examine key issues for the LGBTQIA+ community. Carly Drake, assistant professor of marketing, and Suzanne Chod, professor of political science and coordinator of gender and sexuality studies, share their expertise on critical current events they talk about in their classes as well as how they get students involved in the conversation.

North Central College Professors Carly Drake and Suzanne Chod.

Teagle Foundation grant provides opportunities for underserved students to explore the humanities and prepare for college

June 15, 2021

North Central College has received a $25,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation for the Civic Humanities Project, which will help underserved students learn about the humanities and prepare for college.

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Co-creator of The ARC earns Newman Civic Fellowship

March 31, 2021

Social entrepreneurship major Haven Denson ’22 has earned a coveted Newman Civic Fellowship for 2021-2022. Denson was one of 212 students from 39 states to be selected for the honor. The yearlong fellowship, sponsored by Campus Compact, supports changemakers and problem-solvers with recognized potential for public leadership

North Central College student Haven Denson.

Grant funding addresses broad need for STEM teachers

March 18, 2021

A $75,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to North Central College represents several important firsts and lays the groundwork for significant additional grant support in the future. The funds will be used to build capacity and partnerships, with the end goal of preparing STEM teachers who are equity-minded and willing to teach in high-need schools.

North Central College professors who will be working with STEM students with support from a National Science Foundation grant.

North Central DEI Task Force trains for next steps in moving the College forward

February 26, 2021

Members of the North Central College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force are preparing to take what they have learned over the past year and put it into decisive action for the good of the entire College community. In mid-February, the task force met with Deepa Iyer, director of strategic initiatives for the Building Movement Project (BMP). BMP is an organization dedicated to helping educational institutions, nonprofits and other similar groups strategize how to bring about positive social change.

A picture of Old Main, North Central College's administration building.

In pursuit of Black history

February 24, 2021

When Jojo Galvan Mora ’19 came to North Central College and discovered the archives inside Oesterle Library, he “fell in love.” Now he’s using that passion to fuel graduate research and a career in public history. For the past year, he’s held the position of archivist/curator for the Midwest Nursing History Research Center (MNHRC) in Chicago, while also pursuing a master’s degree in museum and exhibition studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. 

Jojo Galvan Mora

Honors Salon Series continues race-related sessions after successful debut

February 9, 2021

The first virtual session of spring was held February 3 and attracted 40 participants as Sean Kim Butorac, assistant professor of political science, discussed “Race & The Politics of Resistance.” All sessions are held virtually on Zoom or Microsoft Teams and are open to the campus community. After the presentation of topics, participants are welcome to ask questions and discuss content further.  

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Exceptional programs and inspiring mentors helped first-year North Central College student pave a unique path forward

February 3, 2021

Business management major Elizah Leonard ’24 found her home away from home in Naperville, Ill. A strong sense of community, inspiring mentors and exceptional opportunities inside and outside of the classroom showed Leonard North Central College was the right fit for her. “North Central had everything I wanted,” said Leonard. “The campus size and the idea that I wouldn’t be (just) a number to professors really helped me want to come here.” 

Elizah Leonard

Scholar, author and activist Eddie Glaude Jr. to give keynote address for North Central College’s Black History Month events

January 29, 2021

Glaude is a noted author, having penned numerous studies of the intersection between race and politics in America, focusing particularly on the Black community and the nature of democracy. His latest book, “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own,” reflects on America’s history of racial division to find what lessons we can learn from the past.

Eddie Glaude

Unique Teach-in on Martin Luther King Jr. Day invites exploration of MLK’s life, his goals, and lessons for today

January 13, 2021

A virtual approach to celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will give the North Central College community an opportunity to engage in relevant discussion topics. 

Martin Luther King Jr.

Protest art exhibit shines a light on North Central College’s call for social justice

December 18, 2020

The North Central College Department of Art and Design is hosting an exhibition devoted to student protest art now through February 25, 2021 in the Schoenherr Gallery at the Wentz Performing Arts Center.

A piece of protest art from the North Central College exhibit.

College receives $20,000 grant supporting racial healing

December 16, 2020

In support of North Central College's efforts to facilitate racial healing and promote racial justice, Healing Illinois awarded the College a $20,000 grant. The grant will be used to help expand five of the College's diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Logos for the Chicago Community Trust and Healing Illinois.

Naperville historian to speak to North Central students on the little-known history of diversity in the College’s hometown

November 11, 2020

Writer and historian Robert W. Fieseler will give a virtual lecture on how North Central College's home of Naperville became a large, suburban “melting pot” with a diverse population and broad sense of social acceptance.

Old Main, the administrative building for North Central College.

Dialogue Across Differences: "We're allowing space for others to express themselves"

October 23, 2020

North Central College's Office of Multicultural Affairs and Center for Social Impact are implementing dialogue training and a toolkit for it called CHIRP, named for how Cardinals communicate with each other.

Kamelotte Greogory and Stephania Rodriguez

Open forum continues the conversation about race representation in North Central College’s history

October 20, 2020

During the 2018-2019 academic year, students in Professor Ann Keating’s HIST 200 Methods class uncovered racist images in North Central College’s student newspaper and yearbook archives

DEI forum

Everybody Comes In: Making all students feel welcome

October 6, 2020

While enrolled in Models of Social Thought and Philosophy of Race and Gender with Ann Dolinko, visiting professor in the Shimer Great Books School, Beth Rodriguez '21, Josselin Rodríguez '21 and Mayra Dominguez '21 formed an idea: to create an organization on campus that provides a safe and welcoming environment for all. 

ECI leaders Elizabeth Rodriguez, Mayra Dominguez and Josselin Rodríguez

North Central College Board of Trustees undergoes committee restructuring

October 5, 2020

The North Central College Board of Trustees expanded its committee structure in order to give Board members more time to engage with student programming and success and the College’s continued work on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Old Main, the North Central College administrative building.

Student-organized series encourages participants to reflect on diversity in new ways

October 1, 2020

The Honors Program is hosting a Salon Series focusing on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion as a way to expand important “conversations” within the campus community. Led by North Central faculty and staff, all six sessions can be joined via Microsoft Teams; many can also be attended in person.

honors salon series flyer

Austin Channing Brown inspires leadership on racial justice during Welcome Week

October 1, 2020

Each year, Welcome Week at North Central College offers valuable workshops and events for first-year students. Welcome Week 2020 included a virtual keynote session with bestselling author, public speaker and media producer Austin Channing Brown. 

austin channing brown headshot

In Writing for Social Change, students learn they can shape the world

September 29, 2020


As students study the writing of social change movements of the past and present, they learn how their own writing can influence public media.

Students on a virtual call

Faculty find new ways to battle systemic racism in online workshop

September 11, 2020

North Central’s faculty were inspired to reflect on their beliefs and consider new teaching approaches during a virtual workshop on diversity, equity and inclusion, lead by Dr. Sumun L. Pendakur, chief learning officer at University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center.

Headshot of Dr. Sumun L. Pendakur, chief learning officer at University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center

Office of Multicultural Affairs holds summer events on race and racism

September 11, 2020

The Office of Multicultural Affairs held two special events to promote dialogue about race and racism in July. These events were fully virtual and open to the public, and saw strong attendance.

old main tower through tree branches

North Central students create unique and socially conscious jewelry company

July 23, 2020

Ambitious students use their skills as entrepreneurs by bringing Colombian jewelry to the U.S.

kawami jewelry made by NC students

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at North Central

North Central College strives to grow in diversity, equity and inclusion through the work of our faculty and staff, the openness and honesty of our students, the support of our alumni, and the continuing commitment of the entire North Central community. Share our journey with us and discover how we are working to be the change and become a true college of destination.

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