On Friday, January 9, more than 25 community partners participated in the first-ever From this Day Forward Mentorship Dinner that offered Walsh students more than just a meal. Presented by The President’s Diversity Council, this inaugural event will be the first in a series connecting 27 students with community partners from diverse backgrounds to share a cross-cultural experience in order to greatly increase their chances of success on campus and in their future careers.
“This type of work is not a light switch. It’s a process,” said Chief Diversity Officer Michael Douglas. “For several years, our Diversity Council has been building the infrastructure and the capacity on campus to have this type of event. Through local community outreach we were able to engage with appropriate role models that mirror some of our underrepresented groups on campus such as African Americans and Hispanic. This dinner was the first step into bringing them on to our campus, into our world and introducing them to our students.”
The program included a special welcome from President Richard Jusseaume and included attendees from all areas of campus including Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Douglas Palmer, Ph.D., Vice President for Athletics Dale Howard and Walsh’s Diversity Council members. Remarks were also made by former Student Government Vice President Serena Draper ’17 and Morgan Trust, President of the Black Student Union.
After dinner, the students were divided into five groups for topic discussions with five appointed Master Mentors during a speed-networking type of program. Each topic was specifically tailored to the student needs.
District 35 Representative Tavia Galonski spoke about the importance of maintaining a strong credit score and discussed how poor credit can impact future job opportunities. Other topics included understanding life’s consequences when making decisions by Scott Barwick of Stark County Fatherhood Coalition and the importance of building a professional network by Rodney Reasonover, CEO of the Stark County Community Action Agency.
“We want our students to meet people, network and by all means, this is not a one and done type of event. We’re hopeful that we are creating relationships that go far beyond the dinner,” said Douglas. “Our future goals include more events like this and expanding the number of students who will participate.”
The next mentorship dinner will be held in celebration of Black History Month on Thursday, February 22. For more information, please contact Michael Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org.