SBU Embraces Diversity with New Multicultural Center

HNP Communications Features

ALLEGANY, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure University President Sister Margaret Carney announced plans to open a new university center this August destined to serve as a place of community, collaboration and pro-active problem solving for students, faculty and staff who seek a multicultural “anchor” for social, intellectual and personal development.

The Damietta Center is dedicated in memory of the journey of Francis of Assisi from Europe to the lands of Islam and the non-violent encounter with a ruling Moslem leader of his time.

The Damietta Center will provide cultural, intellectual and spiritual enrichment. Available programs, services and facilities will enhance and create a community environment that recognizes the university’s desire to learn and appreciate cultural similarities and differences, while cultivating a campus-wide environment for cross-cultural interaction.

The center will celebrate the diversity of the university’s students, faculty, staff and administrators.

It will be located in the building currently identified as the Thomas More House, between Francis Hall and the Gardens. Equipped with a kitchen, dining room, living room and meeting space, it will once again become a “home” to many.

After listening to the strategic planning committee for diversity members and meeting with interested students, faculty and administrators, Sister Margaret committed to making this a priority for the university.

“I am grateful to the members of the strategic planning committee for the originality of their proposal and the careful cultural analysis behind it. I am also very pleased with initiatives reported to me by our students who are really eager to take ownership of this new opportunity for creating a better campus climate,” Sister Margaret said.

“Together, we will ‘make our way by walking’ as we create the center under the capable leadership of Peter Ghiloni, whom I have asked to serve as its founding director,” Sister Margaret said, referencing the prophet Isaiah. “Peter has important experience in diversity work, has established wonderful relationships across our campus and is a trusted mentor of our students.”

While serving as director of prayer and worship for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for 10 years, Ghiloni also served on its multicultural task force and worked extensively with the African American, Latino and Hmong communities in the central city of Milwaukee. Additionally, he worked to create and host a major annual ecumenical conference.

“This is a very exciting endeavor for me and the entire campus. I look forward to establishing a home for all of us, as we embrace our cultural gifts and realties,” Ghiloni said.

The mission of the Damietta Center will be situated within University Ministries.