Colorado State University’s Diversity Symposium Welcomes Sherman Alexie as Keynote Speaker

The annual Diversity Symposium kicks off with “Smoke Signals” writer and co-producer Sherman Alexie at 7 p.m. Sept. 18 in the Lory Student Center.

Alexie, a Monfort Professor-in-Residence, is the writer and co-producer of “Smoke Signals,” the first film written, directed and produced entirely by Native Americans. The film received the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Alexie works to dispel myths about the conditions of Native Americans living on reservations and is a leader in the fight against alcoholism on reservations. He has written 22 books, including “War Dances” and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” as well as several poems.

Colorado State’s Diversity Symposium will be Sept. 18-20 in the Lory Student Center. With the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, this year’s symposium theme, “Access, Attainment and Responsibility,” explores higher education access in relation to opportunity, economic advancement and social responsibility. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Over the course of three days, more than 40 sessions will be offered to the Colorado State community to provide engagement in intelligent, thought-provoking discussions on a wide range of topics such as inclusion, social justice and fostering a supportive learning environment.

Highlights of the symposium:

Access Through Affirmative Action presented by Diana Prieto and Nick Cummings; 9-10 a.m. Sept. 18
This session will explore the inception and history of affirmative action, its adoption in employment and adaptation by educational institutions, the myths that still surround affirmative action and the future of affirmative action.

INTO CSU: An Update on One Effort to Internationalize the Campus presented by Pattie Cowell and Liz Munro; 2-3 p.m. Sept. 18
This session will provide an overview of the INTO Colorado State project to recruit and prepare international students for progression into the university. Center curriculum, staffing, facilities, support services, student demographics, recruitment efforts and future plans will be discussed, as well as efforts to integrate the center with existing units and processes at the university.

The Legacy of NAFTA: A Story of Explosive Growth, Deepening Cultural Ties and the Changing Face of Colorado presented by Javier Barrios, Jimmy Mulvihill and Carlos Emilio Gomez Andonaegui; 10:15-11:15 a.m. Sept. 20
Experts in this session will bring a historical, educational, and business perspective on how cross-border trade and migration have changed both the U.S. and Mexico. Both the pros and cons of NAFTA will be discussed.

50 Years in 50 Minutes presented by Blane Harding; 12:10-1 p.m. Sept. 20
As part of the celebrations for the Lory Student Center’s 50th anniversary, Blane Harding, former director of Advising, Recruitment and Retention for the College of Liberal Arts, will present a historical perspective of the Lory Student Center. Harding will incorporate stories from CSU community members and historical records as part of the session.

Visit for a full list of sessions and details.

About CSU’s Diversity Symposium

In 2001, Colorado State held its first one-day Diversity Summit, “Undergraduate Student Retention and Diversity,” for a select number of deans, department heads and directors off campus. In 2002, the one-day summit opened its doors to the CSU and Fort Collins communities.

The 2004 Diversity Summit, “Grounding Ourselves in Diversity: Data, Dialogue and Direction for the Future,” marked the first all-inclusive diversity conference with faculty, students, Front Range Community College, Aims Community College, University of Northern Colorado, Athletics, CSU Police Department, Poudre Valley Health Systems, Fort Collins Area Chamber, Northern Colorado Mortgage Co. and a state representative presenting workshops or participating in events. As the apparent need for discussion about diversity at Colorado State grew, the one-day summit evolved into the three-day symposium that it is today.

Over the years, themes have changed with the times to spark discussion about diversity. Specially selected presenters lead workshops or host panels that create a safe place for symposium attendees to explore issues surrounding race, color, gender, disability, religion, national origin, economical standing and sexual orientation among other topics.

Each symposium hosts inspirational and provocative guest speakers who address each theme. In the past, invited guests have included Monfort Professors such as journalist Ray Suarez; actor Edward James Olmos; Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; and, Henry Cisneros, former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.