October community letter

Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi

Dear Pacificans.

October presents us with many events that are opportunities to learn and grow.

These celebrations give context to the important work we are doing to become a model anti-racist university. Almost a year ago during President Callahan’s inauguration symposium, I shared a guiding framework with you that placed humanism as the central purpose of diversity, equity and inclusion in American higher education. Today I’d like to share additional resources that expound upon this work.

This summer I concluded my term as Board Chair for the Urban Libraries Council (ULC), an organization that advocates for and raises the profile of public libraries as essential places that transform people and communities. In that role, I was able to share higher education insights gleaned from my work at Pacific to strengthen organizational activities for inclusion. Among the tools my colleagues and I developed is the Harmful Detours and Healing Redirects framework, an equity-advancing resource designed to help people in organizations navigate conversations that derail productive steps towards building common ground and collaborative action. This framework is a guide for how to use healing language so that conversations involving DEI issues are redirected toward mutual respect and action.

Although originally designed for public executives, I believe everyone, including Pacificans, can apply the concept of harmful detours and healing redirects into our daily work with students and one another to build a culture of respect and understanding. 

Our collective work in this area is manifested in the following programs across all three campuses:

  • Associate Professor and Director of Bands Vu Nguyen will host composer-in-residence Giovanni Santos for the world premiere concert of “Chávez, 1927,” a piece honoring the life and work of Cesar Chávez. Martin Camps, professor of Latin American studies, will provide a pre-concert discussion.
  • In celebration of National Coming Out Day, the Center for Identity and Inclusion is hosting Queer Cheer: National Coming Out Day Festival on Oct. 11 at the DUC Lawn. The celebration will begin at 4 p.m.
  • Madhu Sundarrajan, professor of speech-language pathology, will lead a workshop on “Affirming Neurodivergent Learners.” This interactive discussion will provide identity-affirming, asset-based and justice-oriented steps for instructors to take to support learners at all levels. The workshop will take place Oct. 13 at 10 a.m.
  • As part of the Eberhardt School of Business’s CEOs of Color in Residence program, speaker and real estate broker Tanya Patterson will give a community talk, “The Color of Real Estate” on Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.

I hope that you make time this month to attend one or more of these and many other wonderful events designed to help all Pacificans learn and grow while building community.


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