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Access and Community Impact

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Our History

The 1960s-70s marked a transformative era in the U.S., with young people nationwide challenging the status quo. Even at Oklahoma State University, change was in the air. In the fall of 1969, African American students staged a walkout, presenting twelve demands to the university administration through the Afro-American Society. Among these demands was the hiring of an African American Counselor. Enter Howard Shipp Jr., who joined the University Counseling Center on February 2, 1971, bringing a significant step forward in addressing the students' aspirations for a more inclusive campus.


Afro-American Society member stage a walk out in the 1960s.


Travel back to 1985 when the Office of Minority Programs and Services emerged under University Counseling, led by the visionary Dr. Howard Shipp Jr. The mission: offering personalized counseling to minority students, both one-on-one and in groups. Our dynamic team included a Native American and an African American Counselor. Soon after, recognizing the need, a dedicated Counselor for Hispanic students joined the ranks. Together, we've been shaping a supportive and inclusive environment ever since!


Dr. Howard Shipp, Jr. the first African American counselor hired at OSU and first director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.


Fast forward to 1992, and Oklahoma State University unveils the Multicultural Development and Assessment Center, a game-changer! Evolving from the Minority Programs and Services, this new hub blends counseling with dynamic outreach. Picture us not just in offices but also connecting with students in residential halls and making waves with engaging speaking engagements on and off campus. It's more than a center; it's a vibrant community in action!


Students visit the Office of Multicultural Affairs in 1992.


Picture the summer of 2002 – a season of transformation. The Multicultural Development and Assessment Center underwent a remarkable evolution, emerging as the Multicultural Student Center (MSC), now proudly nestled within the Division of Student Affairs. Exciting changes for a vibrant future!


Dr. Howard Shipp, Jr. retirement celebration in 2005.


In August 2005, after Dr. Howard Shipp Jr.'s retirement, the Multicultural Student Center (MSC) embraced a new era under the leadership of Dr. Phillip Birdine within the Office of the Vice-President for Access and Community Impact, guided by Dr. Cornell Thomas.


The MSC's timeless mission is to enrich multicultural opportunities for all OSU students. We foster experiences that elevate cultural knowledge, sensitivity, and competence, preparing students for a global community.


History tells us that students evolve during their academic journey, and our interactions with them provide countless learning opportunities. Change is inevitable, and in July 2008, we embraced a new name: the Inclusion Center for Academic Excellence. This name signifies our commitment to academic excellence and an inclusive approach to perspectives, ideas, and experiences.


In May 2011, another transformation occurred, leading us to our current identity: The Office of Multicultural Affairs. This aligns us with similar departments at other institutions, making us a more recognizable resource at OSU.


Amid these changes, our core mission endures. We are a hub of continuous learning and growth, committed to fostering an inclusive, action-oriented community within OSU and beyond. Join us as we continue to learn, adapt, and thrive!

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