Colorado State University Celebrates Diversity through Art for 13th Annual Diversity Symposium

Colorado State University’s annual Diversity Symposium kicks off Sept. 17 – this year showcasing diversity in a very visual way. The theme, “Experiencing and Understanding Diversity through Culture and the Arts,” seeks to explore how diversity can be expressed through the visual and performing arts.

“Every year, the Diversity Symposium offers a unique opportunity not only to hear about different perspectives, but to dialogue and to talk to people who are experts in these areas,” said Vice President for Diversity Mary Ontiveros.

The Diversity Symposium runs through Sept. 19 at both the University Center for the Arts and the Lory Student Center on campus.

Over the course of three days, more than 30 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 include:

John Amos; 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17; University Center for the Arts, University Theatre
Television, stage, film actor, activist and CSU alumnus John Amos has relied on his strong, forceful looks to earn a satisfying place in the annals of film and television. Known for his varied roles in Roots, Good Times, The West Wing, Two and a Half Men and Die Hard 2, among others, Amos has found it a constant uphill battle to further himself in an industry that tends to diminish talents with demeaning stereotypes. This event is sponsored in part by the Monfort Professor in Residence Program and Bohemian Foundation. Tickets are free for CSU community members and $5 for the general public. For tickets, visit

Diversity of Political Thought; 11:30 a.m. Sept. 18; Lory Student Center Grey Rock Room
This session, moderated by CSU political science professor John Straayer, explores diversity, bias and civility in political thought and discourse. The event is free and open to the public.

Black Pioneers in Music Performance; 8 p.m. Sept. 18; University Center for the Arts, Griffin Concert Hall
This special concert honors those who broke the color barrier in music and composition, paying tribute to singers such as Todd Duncan, Marian Anderson, Grace Bumbry, Mattiwilda Dobbs, Leontyne Price and Shirley Verrett, with performances by Metropolitan Opera greats Leona Mitchell, soprano, and George Shirley, tenor; as well as sopranos Louise Toppin and Lori Hicks; mezzo-soprano Lori Brown Mirabal; and baritone Darnell Ishmel. A reception immediately follows the performance. Tickets are free for the CSU community and $20 for the general public. For tickets, visit This event is sponsored in part by the Monfort Professor in Residence Program and Bohemian Foundation.

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, CSU Department of Athletics and 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. 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, economic 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.