Topics: Administrative, Board of Trustees, Inclusive Excellence, President

May 3, 2018


Ball State University’s Board of Trustees approved a proposal today to design a new Multicultural Center at the core of campus to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body. 

During the meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the scope and budget of the new Multicultural Center, which will be developed east of Bracken Library and adjacent to the planned East Mall and Grand Lawn. The tentative schedule calls for the $4 million project to begin construction in mid to late 2019 and be occupied about a year after construction begins.

A design for the project will be brought before the Board at a future meeting.

Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said the new, 10,500-square-foot facility will provide services closer to where students live and study, and it will feature amenities designed to assist and support all students and to promote diversity and inclusion.

He noted that, in Fall 2017, 20 percent of new freshmen were from underrepresented populations, setting an institutional record. Also, the campus population of ethnic minorities increased to 17.9 percent among all undergraduates and 16 percent among all graduate students.

“Promoting respect for all people is articulated in the Beneficence Pledge,” said President Mearns. “At Ball State, we live the Beneficence Pledge because it is the right thing to do, and it is intrinsic to our ultimate goal: to prepare students for successful careers and meaningful lives. A new facility at the heart of campus will help us fulfill that goal.”

The center is currently housed in a former residential structure southeast of the Student Center. The 4,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1934 and became the Special Programs House in the early 1970s to serve African-American students. The center serves as a resource for the recruitment, retention and enrichment of a culturally diverse student population.

The Board also was presented plans for the Centennial Celebration, a yearlong observance of the University’s founding in 1918.

The goals for the celebration, which will take place during the 2018-19 academic year, are to tell the Ball State story to a broader audience, increase awareness among stakeholders, increase engagement and philanthropy, engage the community, build morale and pride, increase faculty and staff retention and recruitment, and celebrate the University’s diversity.

The selected Centennial theme, “Proud Past, Bright Future,” reflects the University’s intention to celebrate both its past achievements and its bright future, said Rick Hall, chair of the Board of Trustees. 

“During the coming year, we have an excellent opportunity to showcase how Ball State has been transformed from a small teachers college into a dynamic research University that is playing a major role in the state’s economic expansion,” Chair Hall said. “We will recognize the impact Ball State has had over the last 100 years. That includes producing many of today’s top leaders, infusing the growth of Indiana’s tech boom, shaping K-12 education across the state and the nation, and bolstering communities through hundreds of immersive learning experiences.”

While the Centennial will be the focus of a campus birthday celebration on June 15, the observance officially begins with a September 6 kickoff event. The University also will honor the Ball family, who founded the institution, with a reunion in October.