A grand opening celebration of the Griggs Center for Black & Indigenous Student Success at Oregon State University will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18, in Memorial Union Room 61.

During the grand opening, students will be introduced to the services the center provides, such as academic counseling, tutoring, supplemental instruction, writing center support  and peer  mentoring, and snacks to keep them going. In addition, Black and Indigenous students who excelled academically this fall will be highlighted. Drinks and snacks will be provided

The center is part of the Dr. Lawrence Griggs Office of Black & Indigenous Student Success, which was created to increase access, academic success and retention for Black, Native American, Pacific Islander and Alaskan Native students.

The office was created after a merger between the Black Student Access & Succuss Initiative and the Native/Indigenous Student Access & Success Initiative. These initiatives focus on supporting Black and Indigenous student success, retention and graduation.

“This office offers a central location that expands the wholistic support that EOP has provided for over 50 years,” said Dorian Smith, director of Black & Indigenous Student Success in the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) at OSU.  “We currently have the Nia and munk-skukum living learning communities, support for precollege students, and we have working groups of colleagues across the university that meet to address the needs of our students.”

The office collaborates with other departments within the Division of Student Affairs to create clear pathways for students to connect with important services and programming, including academic support, opportunities that complement  classroom learning,  career development, recruitment and outreach. 

It is named for Lawrence Griggs, the director of the Educational Opportunities Program at OSU from 1986 through 2008. He impacted countless students during his tenure and helped to shape the way that OSU supported underrepresented students. Griggs died in 2020, but his dedication to helping nontraditional students to succeed and thrive continues to influence the university.

Fall 2021 enrollment at  OSU’s Corvallis campus includes 9,381 students of color, an increase of 466 students, or 5.2%, over last year. Enrollment of students of color have almost doubled from 10 years ago and now make up more than 28% of OSU’s overall enrollment.

“We hope that this office can help students to identify support before a small issue becomes a crisis,” Smith said. “Our goal is to make sure that students know of a central location to get their needs met so they can thrive at OSU rather than just survive at OSU.”

Accommodations for disabilities during  the grand opening event may be made by contacting 541-737-4181 or [email protected]

~ Theresa Hogue