Texas Tech University has officially opened the first of three new cultural centers set to open on campus.
“This facility is part of our commitment to recruit, support and retain our students,” said Texas Tech President, Lawrence Schovanec. “It will be a place for students, faculty, staff and alumni to gather and was designed to enhance academic programs across campus.”
The Black Cultural Center was a project initiated by the Black Student Association (BSA) at Texas Tech. Students approached university leadership in the fall of 2020 and expressed the need for a Black Cultural Center on campus. Shortly after, the development building was identified as the center's future home and a planning committee was assembled.
“It brings the BSA much joy to see this center, which was conceived, planned and executed by our executive members for many years, along with the gracious help of our administrators, now standing on campus,” said BSA President Christianah Adejokun. “This center represents what it looks like for the administration to hear the voices of their students and act. We hope any individual who walks in will leave with a piece of life-changing knowledge about Black culture.”
The center's grand opening included brief remarks from university leadership and tours of the new facility which provides an educationally immersive experience, including a library specifically dedicated to documenting the African and Black diaspora in America and at Texas Tech.
“The Black Cultural Center is a place where the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities can gather as students, scholars, researchers, community members and as a Red Raider family,” said Carol A. Sumner, vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer.
“Like all centers on campus, it will provide space to study, research, prepare for future careers, explore culture and support one another. The center also will provide opportunities framed through the Black/African American culture and experience. I believe Red Raiders will benefit through the academic and co-curricular resources offered through the center, as well as its culture and heritage programs.”
Texas Tech opened its first cultural center, the International Cultural Center (ICC), in 1996. Since that time, it has hosted hundreds of community and academic events. The Black Cultural Center is the second of these centers. Texas Tech plans to open a Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center and an Intercultural Center in 2023. The new centers will highlight Texas Tech's rich diversity and offer educational opportunities.
“We hope the impact of these centers will be reflected in an increased sense of belonging, improved graduation rates amongst students and higher retention rates among our student, faculty, staff and administrators,” Sumner said.