October 14, 2022

Students Applaud Ruby Jones Conference

ruby jones recipientsApproximately 100 students and others in the West Chester University community gathered on October 12 for the fourth annual Ruby Jones Conference on Race, Social Justice, and Civic Leadership. Hosted by the Dowdy Multicultural Center, the program included workshops and breakout sessions and keynote speaker Bryan Terrell Clark, a Yale and Temple University graduate and an accomplished actor and singer/songwriter.

Best known for his role as George Washington in the Broadway hit Hamilton and as Marvin Gaye in Motown: The Musical, Clark is also the co-founder of inDEFINED, an initiative that inspires and teaches young people to use their voices to erase constrictive labels in our society.

Chyna Hart ’15, M’22, assistant director of the Dowdy Multicultural Center, noted, “Students loved the keynote speaker and the fact that he gave them a mini performance from Hamilton. His speech was amazing.”

Clark has performed in hugely successful Broadway shows and a wide range of popular television programming for various networks. He received a 2014 Grammy Award nomination for Best Musical Theater Album and most recently appeared in Ava DuVernay’s 2020 Peabody Award-winning Netflix miniseries When They See Us. He earned the 2018 Voice for Social Justice Award from Rutgers University, the 2019 Gallery of Success Award from Temple University, and the HELP USA 2019 Help Hero Award for Volunteerism for his ongoing commitment to social change and activism.

The Ruby Jones Conference is designed to create an educational environment where students can engage in learning that will raise awareness and promote action-oriented dialogue about racial, cultural, and social issues that impact how they experience life on campus, in communities, and in society.

Professor Ruby Jones was a West Chester University alumna and was also the first Black faculty member hired at the institution. She was a K-12 educator and taught in the University’s Demonstration School prior to becoming a faculty member. Actively involved with the NAACP, the YWCA and the American Association of University Women, she has been described as an educator, humanitarian, and civic leader. WCU’s former Demonstration School has been renamed in her honor as Ruby Jones Hall.

For more information, contact the Dowdy Multicultural Center at multicultural@wcupa.edu or 610-436-3273.

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