Published 08/30/12

Bryant's Intercultural Center celebrates 35 years

When Bryant’s Multicultural Center was first established in 1977, it was a one-woman show. Berta Hysell began her 17-year Bryant career that year with a mission to recruit students of color, raise awareness of diversity issues on campus, and work with the 11 students of color attending Bryant at that time to help them achieve their goals.Berta Hysell

In her trademark warm, caring – and forthright – way, Berta was a strong advocate for diversity, tirelessly campaigning for opportunities and resources. She was also a go-to person, someone on whom students and staff could depend for guidance. People knew that when they went to Berta, she was as likely to hug them as she was to hold them accountable – but she was always fair.

When she retired in 1994, Bryant’s center to support multicultural students had flourished and was a significant department on campus.

Evolving to meet current needs

In 1999-2000, the role of the center became more prominent – and necessary – when an ongoing conflict between Black athletes and Greek Life occurred, which spurred the formation of a Diversity Task Force. During that same period, the population of international students grew to a point where recognition and support was necessary. The International Orientation Program was instituted.

Since then, the Multicultural Center has been renamed the Intercultural Center, and new programs and events that celebrate the unique contributions of international and multicultural student populations have been added.

All alumni are welcome to join Berta Hysell, current ICC staff and students, and alumni to commemorate the Intercultural Center’s 35th Anniversary during Reunion @ Homecoming Weekend.