DEI Community Letter: Black History Month and HSI Designation

Mary Lomax-Ghirarduzzi

We are gaining momentum in our commitment to become the best student-centric, comprehensive university in the nation.

During Black History Month, we spotlight the achievements, contributions and legacy of Black Americans. This has proven to be a particularly special Black History Month as we also celebrate the U.S. Department of Education designation of Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) to the university. In doing so, Pacific has become the top-ranked HSI private university in the nation.

In his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote:

"In a real sense all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.

I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the inter-related structure of reality.”

Dr. King had a deep understanding of how our successes are infinitely bound together. In a higher educational context, this holds true: what affects one student group can and does affect other students. Pacific’s ability to attract new resources that will increase support and services for Hispanic/Latino students will increase our support and services for all students. 

By adding HSI to our existing federal designations, including Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institution, along with Minority Serving Institution, Pacific is on a bold trajectory to provide additional access to high-potential and deserving first-generation students who come from underserved communities both near and far. We will attract new resources across our three campuses to enhance undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs.

The culmination of Pacific becoming an HSI during Black History Month is historic and affirms what Dr. King taught us – we are destined for success with interconnected and mutually beneficial opportunities. 

I am proud to amplify the narratives of remarkable Black Americans and further advance access and opportunity for Hispanic/Latino students.

Learn more about Black History Month events and our HSI designation.

Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Professor of Communication