Niagara University in New York has announced the creation of a new on-campus center that aims to advance the institution’s commitment to diversity and social justice. The Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equality and Mission will be focused on research and integrating issues of race and equality into the teaching/learning environment at Niagara University.
Niagara University, located just north of Niagara Falls, enrolls about 3,200 undergraduate students and more than 900 graduate students. African Americans make up 5 percent of the undergraduate student body.
James J. Maher, president of Niagara University, said that the “Ostapenko Center will serve as a resource on issues related to race relations on campus and racial equity in the community. We will engage our students, faculty and staff to work collaboratively with stakeholders and partners to leverage change in the academy and across sectors of education, business, government and the community.”
Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko was a German immigrant who developed a successful career in dress design and became a major philanthropist. Upon her death, a portion of her estate was left to Niagara University.