Donald Blake Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture

WWU to inaugurate center to promote research, resources, and acts of service related to race, ethnicity, and culture


On Sunday, April 24, at 9 a.m., Walla Walla University will hold an inaugural event for the Donald Blake Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture.

Consistent with the mission of WWU, the mission of the Donald Blake Center will be to aim for excellence in thought, generosity in service, beauty in expression, and faith in God through the promotion of research, the provision of pedagogical resources, and the encouragement of student-led acts of service that relate to race, ethnicity, and culture.

The center is named in honor of Donald Blake, a member of the faculty in the Walla Walla College Department of Biological Sciences from 1962 to 1969. When Blake accepted the position at WWC, he was one of the first black tenure track faculty to be hired at a predominately white Seventh-day Adventist college or university. He has also held teaching positions at Oakwood College, University of Rhode Island, Ohio State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Southern Illinois University, University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, and University of Hartford. He has also held administrative positions in higher education, including vice president for academic affairs at Kentucky State University and dean of instruction at Mississippi Valley State University.

Blake has a bachelor’s degree from Oakwood College, a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Michigan State University, a doctorate from the University of Rhode Island, and an honorary doctorate from Briarwood College. He has extensive experience in corporate management, organizational consulting, and strategic planning with companies such as ITT Hartford Insurance Group, Agape Consulting, and the Center for Personal and Professional Excellence, where he continues to work today past his 84th birthday.

The Donald Blake Center will promote academic research through an annual conference featuring a keynote speaker who is a leading academic on subject matter related to the study of race, ethnicity, and culture. The center will offer pedagogy workshops on curriculum inclusiveness and multiculturalism and will encourage student-led involvement in inner-city missions and social justice campaigns. The target groups for these acts of service will be community groups, government agencies, businesses, and non-profit groups that address social problems connected to the problem of racism and its devastating effects on contemporary social and cultural life.

Reflecting recently on the new center named in his honor, Blake said, “My employment at Walla Walla College led to the integration of higher education in the Adventist education system. Whoever thought that a simple phone call on Memorial Day in 1962 would result in this center being named for me or the center being set up? Since Walla Walla College took the initiative to integrate Adventist higher education, this center is a natural follow up.”

Timothy Golden, WWU professor of philosophy, has been named director of the Donald Blake Center.

The inaugural event will be held in Heubach Chapel on the Walla Walla University campus. Blake will be present at the dedication ceremony. All are invited to attend.

Posted April 15, 2016