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UC’s African American Cultural and Resource Center Plans Grand Reopening

The AACRC’s Karamu (Swahili for celebration) will reopen the center after five months of renovations.

Date: 1/8/2013 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823

UC ingot   The University of Cincinnati’s African American Cultural and Resource Center will hold its grand reopening celebration, Karamu, at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the center, located on West Charlton Street on UC’s West Campus (the location of the former Sander Dining Center, near Dabney Hall and Fifth Third Arena). A ribbon-cutting will officially reopen the center that has undergone $325,000 in renovations since last August.

The center supports the mission of the university by recruiting, retaining and encouraging the success of students of color at the University of Cincinnati. The AACRC also hosts several large-scale traditional programs that mark significant aspects of African-American life at UC.

Renovations to the AACRC include new carpet, new furniture and the addition of a new room for students called the Harambee Room. The word, Harambee, is Swahili for “Let’s Pull Together.” The new renovations will also include a history of significant contributions that black students have made to the university.

Funding for renovations was supported by the UC Division of Administration and Finance and the University Diversity Council. “This is the continuation of a promise,” says Eric Abercrumbie, director of the center and Ethnic Programs and Services at UC. “We have become one of the top student cultural centers in the country.”

History of the AACRC


The AACRC first opened in September 1991 to create a welcoming environment for African-American students as they adjust to college life.

The idea for the AACRC was first proposed by UC’s United Black Association (now called the United Black Student Association) in 1968. The proposal was led by then UC student Dwight Tillery (A&S ’70), who later became Cincinnati’s mayor and longtime city council member, now founder, president & CEO of Closing the Health Gap of Greater Cincinnati.

In 1990, a university-wide implementation committee of students, faculty, administrators, Board of Trustees members and community representatives developed recommendations for the center’s policies and programming, leading to the center’s opening in 1991.

Media Photo Opportunities

  • The formal ribbon-cutting will be performed by UC alumna and celebrated African-American elder Marian Spencer (A&S ’42), who in 1983 became the first African-American woman elected to Cincinnati City Council and was the first female president of the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP (1983-85). Also taking part in the ribbon-cutting will be UC alumnus Robert E. Richardson, Jr. (CEAS ’02, JD ’05), the youngest person to be appointed to the UC Board of Trustees. Richardson was 2001-2002 president of UC Student Government and established the first college chapter of the NAACP in the Tristate. UC President Santa J. Ono, UC alumna Ewaniki Moore-Hawkins, assistant director of the AACRC and Ethnic Programs and Services (‘02 and ‘06, LCOB), and UC student Anthony Bolton, president of the UC United Black Student Association, will also take part in the ribbon-cutting.
  • Grand reopening celebrations will include African drum and dance performances as well as a performance by the AACRC Choir, which has been featured around the country.
  • The grand reopening will also include a libation, described as a pouring of water on a plant to symbolize the past, present and future.
  • Speakers will include AACRC Director Eric Abercrumbie (A&S ‘87), UC President Santa J. Ono, Debra Merchant, UC interim vice president for Student Affairs, UC alumnus Dwight Tillery, founder, president and CEO of Closing the Health Gap of Greater Cincinnati and UC Board of Trustees member Robert E. Richardson, Jr.