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$250,000 Gift Received to Name Multicultural Center and Increase Opportunities for Students of Color

Thanks to a generous $250,000 gift from Student Services, Incorporated (SSI), West Chester University's multicultural center will soon be named the Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center. This gift is the largest WCU has received to support programs for students from diverse backgrounds.

SSI's gift will create an endowment to provide permanent resources to expand current programs and launch new initiatives, including increased student access to leadership conferences, study abroad opportunities for multicultural students, educational and professional development travel, a diversity ambassador program, as well as visiting lecturers. The center will be dedicated on Friday, Oct. 21, at 4 p.m. in honor of Larry Dowdy, an esteemed alumnus who received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University.

According to Dowdy, "When I came to West Chester in 1969, it was a different place than it is now." During his more than 30-year career at WCU, he held a number of leadership positions and retired in 2015 as executive deputy to the president and governmental relations officer. "When I reflected on my tenure at the University, what I saw largely revolved around promoting servant leadership, civility and inclusion. I wanted to do something to help create new programs and support existing ones to continue that progress."

To enhance the endowment contributed by SSI even further, Dowdy and his wife, Meryl, made an additional pledge to the Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center Endowment. Friends and family members followed suit, bringing the total commitment to the endowment to more than $300,000.

Recognizing the importance of expanding the multicultural center's resources to serve students, the SSI Board of Directors was excited to invest in recognizing Dowdy's service and dream. "Through his actions and words, Larry continues to set an example for all of us to follow," says Dr. Bernie Carrozza, chair of the Board of Directors of SSI and a long-time former member and chair of the WCU Council of Trustees. "His willingness to make a significant difference in students' lives is testament to his character, generosity and ability to inspire a generation of future leaders."

Interim President Christopher Fiorentino stated, "Thanks to this remarkable gift from SSI and the support of other donors, including the Dowdy family, we will be able to offer new opportunities for our students to prepare for their success. The University welcomes being able to help students excel through meaningful and engaging programs."

Contributions to this effort can still be made through the WCU Foundation website or mailed to the WCU Foundation, P.O. Box 541, West Chester, PA 19381. Checks should be made payable to WCU Foundation and include "Lawrence Dowdy Multicultural Center Endowment" in the memo line. Call 610-436-2868 for more information.

Read more about Dowdy in the summer 2016 issue of the alumni magazine.

SSI is a not-for-profit organization designed to serve WCU's West Chester University. The objective of the corporation is to initiate, regulate and operate the financial matters of the University's co-curricular student activities.