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Title: "Heads to the Sky " Artist: Cavin Jones Photographer: Jack Ramsdale,Disclaimer
Long before terms like multiculturalism and diversity were buzzwords, before action was classified as “affirmative” Temple’s founder, Russell Conwell, pledged to polish the “Acres of Diamonds” in the city’s backyard by making higher education accessible and affordable to people of all backgrounds. That commitment has been central to the mission of Temple and continues today with the establishment of the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership (IDEAL), formerly called the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Initially reporting to the President, IDEAL thrives as an office charged with ensuring the continued growth and development of Temple as a diverse community of life learners.
From the vantage points of institutional equity and social justice, IDEAL evaluates the way Temple builds, does business and interacts with the neighboring community; supports and nurtures an academic environment which is harassment free and open to expression and personal growth; recruits and retains scholars of diverse thought and background; and helps students successfully chart and navigate their academic journey.
Temple is unique in that its history has always been inclusive and directed towards creating greater access to the academy. Temple University is consistently listed as one of the top 10 producers of African American undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and first professional degrees in the nation. Temple is also a leader in the production of Hispanic American and Asian American degrees at all levels. In short, the academic engagement that takes place at Temple changes lives and those lives cumulatively change the world, one degree at a time.
As we face the challenges of the new millennium, in an age where equal access is reduced to a ballot question, we remain steadfast in our resolve. We proudly accept the unofficial title of “Diversity University” and the responsibilities associated with it. As such, we pledge not only to incorporate diversity into all facets of our community, but to also develop and sustain academic dialogue and discourse on the significance of diversity and multiculturalism in higher education. We have set the table and we welcome you to join the feast.
Rhonda L. Brown, JD