Return to: UMC Home
UMC LogoUMC News

Civil Rights Activist Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles Keynote for Diversity Summit on Monday and Tuesday, April 13- 14, 2009, at the U of M, Crookston
March 23, 2009

What: Diversity Summit

When: Tuesday and Wednesday, April 13-14, 2009

Contact: Eric Burgess, business instructor, 218-281-8190 ( Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 (

The Black Student Association (BSA) along with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) at the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) are hosting a diversity summit on Monday and Tuesday, April 13 -14,  2009. The events are free and public is invited.

On Monday, April 13, there will be a reception at 6 p.m. in the Kiehle Rotunda with Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles who will kick-off the Diversity Summit with a keynote speech.  At 7 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium, Kyles will address the campus and community about his life and history with Martin Luther King, Jr.  There will also be a showing of Kyles’ Academy Award nominated short documentary entitled “The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306.” 

On Tuesday, April 14, Reverend Kyles will participate in a panel discussion on diversity issues.  The panel discussion will be held in Kiehle Auditorium beginning at noon.

The panel will include students, staff, and community leaders engaging in a dialogue about diversity using a roundtable discussion format. Other special guests joining Kyles on the panel are U of M, Crookston First Lady Barbara Muesing, Superintendent Wayne Gillman from the Crookston High School, Attorney Anne Rasmusson, and Matsimela C. Diop, Ph.D., director of Multicultural Student Services at the University of North Dakota.

U of M, Crookston Senior Enrique Julien, Miami, Fla., president of BSA, and Sophomore Rick Chapin, Seal Beach, Calif., project leader for SIFE, are responsible for planning the diversity summit. The students are guided by help from SIFE and BSA advisor, Eric Burgess, Ph.D., a business instructor at the U of M, Crookston, and Thomas Williams, director of diversity and multicultural services.

Other aspects of this effort include a visit to the Crookston High School to engage students in grades 8 through 10 in a discussion about diversity issues they face. This year marks the third time that members of SIFE and BSA have visited the high school for this purpose. The visits are the outgrowth of an ethics project by SIFE students.

The diversity summit is sponsored by the office of diversity programs, SIFE, and BSA. Funding for the summit comes in part from a grant from the Office of Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota. The Innovation, Diversity, Equity, and Achievement (IDEA) Grants Program seeks to infuse equity and diversity into every aspect of the University’s work and operations by funding proposals for projects that address issues of institutional equity and diversity. To learn more, visit

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. To learn more, visit