The Rita Smith-Wade-El Intercultural Center is a staple resource for students, faculty and staff at Millersville University. The robust programming and event planning provides opportunities for students to immerse themselves in an expansive supplement to their academic tracks.
This fall the University hosted a rededication event, remembering and honoring the legacy of the center’s namesake, Dr. Rita Smith-Wade-El.
According to Kiara Guzman-Ramos, assistant director for the Intercultural Center, the legacy of Dr. Smith-Wade-El is honored in the daily operations of the center as they work to educate students and build community.
“Dr. Rita Smith-Wade-El’s legacy continues day in and day out within the Intercultural Center,” says Guzman-Ramos. “As we continue to encourage students to critically evaluate the meaning of this word and its definition. Intercultural is not just an event relating to various cultures; it is the act of people getting together to learn about, experience and appreciate the diverse cultures that make up their communities.”
Smith-Wade-El passed away in 2018 following a battle with cancer. Her legacy and impact on the Lancaster and Millersville communities have not been forgotten.
Smith-Wade-El’s legacy has been honored through the establishment of the Intercultural Center at Millersville and most recently, the naming of the new Rita Smith-Wade-El elementary school within the School District of Lancaster.
“Her example informed the Intercultural Center as we strive to create an environment that is not only accepting of all cultures and identities but encourages individuals to embrace their cultural identities and educate their peers on the importance of their cultural views,” Guzman-Ramos says. “We work diligently to promote the importance of cultural education and community involvement to ensure that all students feel their identities are respected and they are free to learn about new cultures and identities.”
“A personal highlight in my time working in the center must be seeing and hearing about the tremendous educational and engaging impact on the students of Millersville University,” says Guzman-Ramos. “All our events are unique to our mission and vision as a center that serves marginalized students.”
The center focuses on initiatives of transformative education, social justice, empowerment, collaboration and community.
“This is the work that Dr. Rita Smith-Wade-El did as she was a champion for students from marginalized backgrounds and social justice,” says Guzman-Ramos.
For event updates and additional information about the Intercultural Center, visit the Center’s Get Involved page and follow the center on Instagram (@mu_Interculturalcenter).