director of institutional diversity and multicultural affairs,
is the point person for the College’s diversity
initiative. Her office keeps track of statistics—and the
people behind the statistics.
“When I came in the spring of 2000, there were 15 black students
on campus and 69 students of color [overall],” she says. “This
fall we had 106 people of color enrolled in day and evening classes.
The black students are now 39, the Hispanics 31, and the Asians
But it’s one thing to recruit these students, as admissions
officer Chris Hayes told us in the previous issue. It’s another
to retain them once they get to campus, where faces like their
own are scattered and sometimes hard to find.
“We started a mentoring program for first-year students,” Sharon
says, “and then the upperclass students wanted to be in it!” So
the program was expanded. The students and their mentors—who
may be faculty, staff, or fellow students—have monthly gatherings. “This
is a place where they can come and share,” she says.
Her office on the lower level of Monocacy Hall in the heart of
the Main Street campus also provides speakers, programs, and activities.
She has revived a multicultural house where students of different
backgrounds live together. And she consults with faculty on courses
that meet a College requirement for exploring other cultures.
“Our students are small in numbers so they stick out,” she
says. “But we try to make sure they feel accepted, valued,
a part of the whole—like they can make a difference on our