Dominican University -- a history of diversity

  • Dominican University is proud of its diverse student population.

    Dominican University is proud of its diverse student population.

Updated 9/8/2021 11:30 AM

Dominican University has a strong history of advancing diversity on and off campus, since our inception as a women's college in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, educating the daughters of immigrant Irish lead miners.

Now a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), Dominican embraces and celebrates the many contributions of our Latinx students. The university's HSI status and reputation have attracted almost $20 million in federal funds in the past four years to strengthen student advising and career services, create inclusive classrooms, and promote post-baccalaureate opportunities for traditionally marginalized students.


Dominican has served for several years as a resource to the Village of River Forest, which in 2017 passed a Welcoming Resolution inspired by the university's Sanctuary Campus Resolution. The university and village currently are partnering on an initiative to combat racism and social injustice in the village and on campus. The university hosts and participates in meetings of the village's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

The university also is building bridges with the Village of Maywood, a largely African-American, economically disadvantaged community bordering campus. Earlier this year we offered students an immersive spring break opportunity to learn more about this community's history and many cultural contributions.

Dominican is working with Proviso Township high schools, located in Maywood, Hillside and Forest Park, on a comprehensive enhancement of their Black history curriculum. The university is offering high school juniors and seniors a college credit course on "Africa and African-American Thought" this fall.

We also connect our students to the rich diversity of Chicago's neighborhoods. Through our "Ministry en lo Cotidiano" program, we offer students paid internships to provide service with faith-based nonprofit organizations in Chicago's Hispanic neighborhoods. Our "Beloved Community" program offers similar opportunities in Chicago's African-American communities.

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This summer, Dominican presented its second "El Futuro is Here" conference, on a virtual basis, which attracted representatives from more than 50 universities and nonprofit organizations across the country. The conference explored ways of meeting the educational and spiritual needs of Latinx students, an area in which the university has gained a national reputation.

Dominican University was among the first cohorts of higher education institutions in the country to be designated by the Association of American Colleges and Universities as a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center. Through our TRHT model, we offer a number of programs throughout the year to enhance the cultural competency of our faculty, staff and students.

Last year, we launched the Center for Cultural Liberation, a student-led space designed to help retain, support and celebrate students from historically marginalized backgrounds. This summer, the CCL offered a series of dialogues for the entire campus community on topics including the history of Juneteenth, "Exploring Whiteness and Allyship" and "Serving non-Hispanic Students at an HSI."

By fostering inclusivity on campus and in our community, Dominican upholds the long-standing social justice values of our founding Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. We look forward to advancing this work in fulfillment of our mission of participating in the creation of a more just and humane world.

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