A crowd of people gathered around the east doors of the K-State Student Union on Monday morning, waiting in anticipation for the site unveiling ceremony for the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center.
Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students, said the building can’t stand alone and that K-State must be committed to curriculum reform and need-based scholarships.
“This center is built on the shoulders of giants,” Bosco said. “Men and women that serve this community in a lot of different ways — students, faculty, administrators, alumni, that are committed to making sure that we provide a voice for those that have no voice.”
A major donor involved in the center is Jim Bob Morris, a retired NFL player. The center will be named after Jim Bob Morris.
John Morris, senior vice president of development for the Kansas State University Foundation, said Jim Bob Morris is the embodiment of what it is to be self-made.
“He is from small town Virgil, Kansas, he is of Cherokee nation descent,” Morris said. “He lost both of his parents at a very, very young age. He was impoverished, on welfare and 15 miles from the nearest paved road. There was no pathway for him to succeed or to get out. Athletics provided him that opportunity.”
Jim Bob Morris went on the get a scholarship from a community college and later K-State, leading him to a career in the NFL and future business endeavors.
The Homecoming Committee and Alumni Association presented the center a check for $10,000. The check represents the proceeds that came from the 2018 Homecoming 5K Race.
Del’Sha Roberts, senior in biology and president of the Black Student Union, said BSU is ready to finish the work do whatever is needed.
“We are very excited for the positive change and growth the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center will bring to campus,” Roberts said. “I believe this center will serve for cross cultural learning and growth.”
Monica Romero, sophomore in nutritional sciences and president of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, thanked K-State for its efforts in creating the center.
“As a part of the Hispanic and Latinx community, we want to thank K-State for their initiatives towards diversity and inclusion,” Romero said. “I think the center will really serve as a place for students to come and get resources and cultural development and find a new home.”
Adrian Rodriguez, associate vice president for student life of diversity and multicultural student affairs, estimates that construction will begin on July 22 of this year. The center would open on July 1, 2020.
“This is the beginning,” Rodriguez said. “A building doesn’t solve all issues. It doesn’t fully move us towards social justice and equity. As we are on this success agenda, it’s really [about] the work that we do from this point forward.”