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Adrain Smith Named Director of Multicultural Center

Adrain Smith has assumed responsibilities for general operations and programming for current students at the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education, which is affectionately known as the MC, and is located in the Arkansas Union.

Smith, who has served as a director at the center for five years, has managed many aspects of its day-to-day operations, diversity education outreach, and cultural programming. His specialties in student leadership and mentoring will continue to be high priorities in his expanded role.

"When thinking about the current climate of our society and institutions globally, the work that we do in MC is more important than ever," said Smith. Smith manages a team of four staff members and three graduate assistants who work together to provide culturally responsive programming, student support, and diversity education for current U of A students and many campus collaborations. He is the main contact for student groups seeking support and space or other uses of the Multicultural Center and proposals for programming associations.

"Serving as the new director of the Multicultural Center here at the University of Arkansas is truly one of the greatest honors and privileges. I am grateful, excited, and committed to working tirelessly to fulfill the aspirations and vision I have for the center," said Smith. . "My goal is for the center to be seen as a beacon of hope, a resource that meets the needs of our constituents at the university, a catalyst for change, and a destination to find community, connection, and belonging."

Smith has won numerous awards and accolades for his work as an educator and mentor, and recently received the NASPA African American Knowledge Community (AAKC) Nia Award for Mid-level Professionals.

She earned her BA in sociology from the University of Central Arkansas and an MA in higher education from the U of A. She began her career in Student Affairs at the U of A in 2004.

"I was thrilled when Adrain chose to join our team of principals at the Multicultural Center five years ago, and his service and leadership have continued to be our good fortune," said Leslie Yingling, Associate Dean of Students and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Success and multicultural initiatives. "I am grateful for your commitment and excited for our growth with your vision."

"I look forward to continuing to build in collaboration with the MC team, alumni, institution and community colleagues, and our students to ensure that we, as a Multicultural Center, live up to our mission, vision and purpose," Smith said.

The Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education is a university community that welcomes all students and supports their sense of belonging and their pursuit of academic success and goals. The MC's college access scope is facilitated by the director of the College Access Initiative, Sarah Draine. The MC's achievement of student success and retention, through academic scholarships, the Academic Enrichment Program, and Off-Campus Student Success, is led by Director of Retention Brande Flack. Bryan Hembree is the MC's Director of Arts and Culture and facilitates music, arts, and other cultural events for the campus community and beyond.

The MC is a multicultural and intersectional space that affirms differences, explores shared humanity through cultural celebrations, intercultural and public events, educational forums and alliances that promote the education of diversity and social justice. It also supports Communities of Cultural Identity, centers of identity and belonging where students can connect with each other and share belongings and experiences.

Adrain Smith appeared in the questions and answers of the Student Affairs Bulletin in January 2021.

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