“Share your story.”
During the Nyack College Diversity Celebration Day, these words were the simple, yet powerful encouragement to students offered by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Turk, as a starting point for penetrating the walls that often divide ethnic groups. Dr. Turk was one of three convocation panelists addressing, “The Implications and Effects of Diversity Within the Nyack College Community,” moderated by Dr. Vilma “Nina” Balmaceda, director of the Center for Scholarship and Global Engagement (CSGE). The panel also included Dr. Jeffrey García, an assistant professor in the Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins master’s program and Prof. Fanita Henderson, a New York State licensed mental health counselor in Nyack’s Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. Both recounted ways they have engaged their students, celebrating differences as well as similarities.
Diversity Celebration Day came on the heels of the September 10 announcement that Nyack is on the 2019 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” list for being among the top five regional universities in the North for ethnic diversity. Students from the Rockland County and Manhattan campuses were immersed in the importance of “story” during visits to the National Museum of the American Indian, the African American Burial Ground, the Museum of Jewish Heritage and (pictured above) the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Each site provided a glimpse into significant facets of American history; each experience represented a contribution to who the United States of America is today.
Dr. Balmaceda expressed gratitude to her support team who helped facilitate a successful day of cultural and social enrichment: Dr. Charles Hammond, NYC campus dean of students; Mrs. Wanda Velez, Rockland County campus dean of students; Dr. Wanda Walborn, Rockland campus director of the Office of Spiritual Formation; Ms. Rachel Kunker, administrative assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences and the Center for Scholarship & Global Engagement; Ms. Bonita D’Amil, executive assistant to the Provost; Mrs. Deborah Harris, assistant director of the Office of Student Life; and Nyack’s NYC gospel choir, directed by Prof. Willana Mack.