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    Pacific to Celebrate Pioneering Diversity Efforts at Community Forum: NASA Astronaut José Hernandez '85 to Host Forum

    Apr 27, 2010

    Current and former staff members, professors and graduates of University of the Pacific will gather with community leaders on Friday, April 30 to celebrate Pacific's rich history of diversity initiatives and to explore ways the University can improve these efforts.  

    The Pioneering in Diversity, Strengthening Community Symposium is from 9 a.m. to noon at Progressive Community Church, 2820 South B St., in Stockton. The forum, which is free and open to the public, is part of Pacific's Presidential Inaugural Series in honor of Pamela A. Eibeck's new presidency.  NASA astronaut and Pacific Regent José Hernandez, a 1985 Pacific graduate, will host the forum.

    "This forum will provide a glimpse of the numerous diversity programs that Pacific has implemented over the years with tremendous success," said Arturo Ocampo, assistant provost for diversity. "It will also give the University an opportunity to hear directly from the people who live in the very communities we are targeting."

    The University's efforts to enhance diversity on campus and serve local underrepresented communities will be chronicled through presentations, testimony and memorabilia. Pacific's diversity initiatives expand over decades. Current and past programs include:

    •        Community Involvement Program - a scholarship program formed in 1969 for first-generation college students.

    •        MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) - a national math and science program for educationally-disadvantaged youth started at Pacific in 1993.

    •        Bilingual Financial Aid and College Awareness Workshop - an annual one-day workshop that provides assistance with college applications and financial aid forms. Pacific has co-sponsored the workshop for the past seven years.  

    •        Elbert Covell College - An Inter-American studies program established in 1962 for students from Latin America and the United States.  

    •        Teachers Corps Program - a program established at Pacific in 1972 that placed teachers in low-income communities. Pacific was the first university in the country to offer the national program to undergraduates.

    During the forum, participants will share ideas on how Pacific can improve its diversity efforts to address local community needs. Speakers include: Bobby Bivens, president of the Stockton chapter of the NAACP, Mark Martinez, chief executive officer of the San Joaquin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Ger Vang, chief executive officer of Lao Family Community of Stockton.    

    The forum will be the first of two University events dedicated to diversity on April 30. The other is a University multicultural performing arts show that involves both community and Pacific student organizations. Colors of Rhythm & Rhyme will be from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center Ballroom. The show will include eight performances that involve acting, music and dance which reflect cultural and historical aspects of various ethnicities.

    For more information about the forum contact Arturo Ocampo at 209.946.2099 or Lisa Cooper at 209.946.2361.