Management consulting company to donate $10 million for new diversity and inclusion center
The University of Notre Dame will open a Center for Diversity and Inclusion in the coming months, funded by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). This decision was announced on November 3 by Dennis Brown, the official university spokesman.
According to Brown’s report, this center will operate entirely under the Division of Student Affairs and will “serve as a hub for students utilizing resources in Multicultural Student Programs and Services [(MSPS)], the Office of Student Enrichment [(OSE)] and the Gender Relations Center [(GRC)].” The details regarding the actual operations of the center are still ambiguous.
Arnel Bulaoro, director of MSPS, told the Rover, “There will be no changes to how MSPS, OSE, or GRC do things … This center has three individual offices with their own directors, and then we report directly to Brian Coughlin and the Division of Student Affairs.” While Brian Coughlin is the Associate Vice President of the Division of Student Affairs, he will not direct the center. The directors of MSPS, OSE, and GRC will share this responsibility for the new Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Coughlin could not be reached for comment for this article.
When asked about the goal for the center, Wilson told the Rover, “I think it will just boost efforts that we already do. Specifically for student groups, maybe allowing them to have food at their events or to partner more with our office, which provides programming and resources for our first generation, under-resourced students.”
Bulaoro told the Rover, “The money will be equally shared among the three offices. We’re not going to identify one office over the other in terms of who is the recipient or the greater recipient. In terms of individual programming, I think what it does is it just allows us to do even more programming, particularly with student clubs and organizations.”
In addition to funding student organizations and supporting the offices’ current efforts, Montevecchio added, part of the gift goes towards the remodeled space, which will be on the second floor of the Lafortune student center. She continued, “I think the remodeled space will be a hub for students, for all students. And it’ll also be a way for the three offices to collaborate more effectively and work together.”
When asked when the center will open, Bulaoro told the Rover, “We don’t have a timeline, but starting with the first half of the spring semester, we have an architect who helped with the Duncan Student Center, and the architect is going to go ahead and engage in conversations with administrators and student leaders about what they hope this space can offer. And then from there and those conversations, the architect would be able to give us a timeline in terms of what is reasonable in terms of taking all of this into consideration and then creating it. And that’s going to be initiated fairly soon.”
The mission of the center itself is still undetermined. Bulaoro, told the Rover, “We don’t have one mission statement. I have not seen any mission statement.”
Wilson added, “Each of our offices [MSPS, GRC, and OSE] have a separate mission and vision.”
Brown told the Rover, “A broader mission statement may be developed based upon what we learn from students in spring listening sessions.”
The new center is funded in its entirety by PwC. The company granted the university an initial one million dollar gift for this center with plans to provide the center with an additional nine million dollars over the next five years. When asked by the Rover about their decision to grant such a substantial gift, alongside their support of other diversity and inclusion initiatives at Notre Dame, a representative from PwC responded, “We would point you to reference the press release and leverage Rod Adam’s quote within for perspective from PwC.”
The quotation from Rod Adams, PwC’s U.S.-Mexico Talent Acquisition and Onboarding Leader, states, “PwC has long been purpose-led and values-driven. Creating a culture of belonging and demonstrating inclusive leadership is at the forefront of our strategy and is a critical element to developing today and tomorrow’s leaders.”
In addition to providing funds for the planned Center for Diversity and Inclusion, representatives from PwC teach a portion of the Moreau first year experience course all freshman at Notre Dame must take. PwC’s teaching focuses on implicit bias and other topics relating to diversity.
When asked about the connection between PwC and Notre Dame, Dennis Brown told the Rover, “In addition to being a top employer of Notre Dame graduates, PwC has for more than 30 years supported a wide array of units and programs, including the Department of Accountancy, the ESTEEM program, Computer Science and Engineering, the Office of Military and Veterans’ Affairs and a variety of student clubs.”
When asked if PwC had any requirements for how their gift was to be used, since the center itself has no mission statement, Bulaoro told the Rover, “There are no stipulations for how that money is going to be used. And when I think of the PwC gift, I’m actually thinking more specifically of Notre Dame alums who work at PwC. They’re the ones who generously actually put the money together. So I think that really changes my perspective of the gift itself.”
Brown clarified for the Rover that this is not the case: “The recently announced $1 million gift is from the firm, PwC, not Notre Dame alumni. Alumni will be making gifts to the center going forward, with matching gifts from the firm.”
The Rover will continue to report on developments of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion as they unfold.
W. Joseph DeReuil is a sophomore from St. Paul, MN studying philosophy, classics, and constitutional studies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: University of Notre Dame, Division of Student Affairs