June 3, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Our nation is in deep mourning and our Centenary community mourns with it.  The horrific and senseless death of George Floyd shakes the very foundation of our communities and we shake with it.  We stand with and hurt with Mr. George Floyd’s family and with his community.  We stand with and hurt with our students, faculty and staff.  We grapple with the sense of hopelessness that this event has caused and which ripples through the fabric of our nation at this moment.  The fragility of life and of living is at the center of that hopelessness and pain.  Institutions of higher learning play a particularly important role in both the pain and healing process.  Colleges and universities provide an important forum for change and caring.  We have the ability to provide visibility and transformative changes and we are committed to continuing our work in doing so.  Systemic and structural racism is real and causes our communities deep pain.  Our collective pain will fuel more dialogue and more visibility to issues that impact our communities of color.  We will be allies in the changes required to move us towards a nation where our mantra of equality becomes a reality for all.  We must all be committed to this work.

Centenary’s mission is to provide an inclusive and safe place for all students, faculty and staff, and it is our charge to do so in challenging times as well as in good time. Harriet Tubman’s last words were “I go to prepare a place for you.”  While we cannot welcome you physically back to mourn and heal together, we can continue to “prepare a place for you” where our community can return to be seen and heard and where we can start the work towards change together.

Now is the time. As we continue in our new strategic planning process, the creation of a welcoming and inclusive environment is paramount to our future. We invite you to be part of this process. Under the leadership of Student Life and in particular Devon Vialva, the Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, we will develop a plan to honor our diverse student body. For more information or to get involved, please contact Student Life at Student.Life@centenaryuniversity.edu or Devon at Devon.Vialva@centenaryuniversity.edu.


Dr. Bruce Murphy

Devon Vialva
Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion
Director of Educational Opportunity Program


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.

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