University community invited to celebrate OMA’s 50th anniversary

September 7, 2022
By: Nancy Sheehan

The Office of Multicultural Affairs 50th anniversary celebration will be held Sept. 24 in the Wellness Center at Worcester State.

Alumni, staff, students, and faculty will come together on Homecoming Weekend to celebrate 50 years of the Office of Multicultural Affairs serving Worcester State’s ALANA/BIPOC (African, Latine, Asian, Native American/Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and first-generation students. 

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Wellness Center at WSU. Registration is required by Sept. 9. The semi-formal gala will be emceed by Manasseh Konadu 21’ and include alumni, students and community leaders and feature a musical performance, keynote address, comedy sketch, dinner, and dancing. Tickets are $35 per person.

“Since its inception, OMA has hosted a number of programs that have recruited, retained and graduated our first generation, economically diverse and/or ALANA/ BIPOC students,” Laxmi Bissoondial, OMA director, said. “We are excited to welcome our community back home to celebrate this moment and legacy.” 

Among event highlights: 

  • Worcester Mayor Joe Petty will present a key to the city to OMA for its contributions to Worcester State and the community. 
  • Keynote lecture by Debra Maddox ’82, founder of the Multicultural Wellness Center in Worcester. 
  • Filmmaker Domingo Guyton ’98 will show a trailer for the OMA documentary he is creating. 
  • Upward Bound alumnus and comedian Orlando Baxter will perform a comedy sketch.
  • Remarks from OMA founder Sidney Buxton
  • A musical performance by Jose Castillo, Quinsigamond Community College music professor

OMA’s former Director Marcela Uribe-Jennings will speak about the legacy of OMA as the office worked to create equity by uplifting those who have been traditionally underrepresented. She will also recognize the past student leaders of the Third World Alliance.

Equity has been the center of the Office of Multicultural Affairs since 1975 when OMA first embarked on the development of diverse academic programs on campus like Upward Bound Program and an alternative admissions and retention program called A.I.D. (Alternatives for Individual Development). “This birthed our university’s commitment to equity for our underrepresented students regardless of race, ethnic background and/or socio-economic status,” Bissoondial said.

Bissoondial said she continues to be inspired by the OMA team and alums and the students they serve, and she can still see herself in every student who walks through the door.


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