Press Release - New Institute Named in Honor of Brit Kirwan

June 11, 2002

Ohio State University Board of TrusteesNames New Race and Ethnicity Institute in Honor of William E. (Brit) Kirwan

Kirwan to Become Chancellor of University System of Maryland on August 1

In a special tribute to outgoing President William E. (Brit) Kirwan for his visionary leadership and commitment to academic excellence, the Ohio State University (OSU) Board of Trustees named the university's Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the Americas in his honor. The institute will heretofore be known as the William E. Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the Americas.  Effective August 1, 2002, Kirwan will become the chancellor of the University System of Maryland.
The OSU board took the June 7, 2002, action in recognition of Kirwan's leadership in advancing the cause of diversity while at Ohio State. Upon his arrival at OSU in 1998, Kirwan said that progress on diversity would be one of his key values and a guide to his presidency. His commitment led to the development of the university's Diversity Action Plan, which was launched in 2000.
The Kirwan Institute will encourage top-notch scholarship and stimulate international research in the important interdisciplinary field of race and ethnicity, and will greatly enhance the university's mission of outreach on a local, national, and global scale. It became a priority of the university's Academic Plan because of its positive role in recruiting and retaining women and people of color, as well an enhancing scholarship on diversity issues.
Naming the institute in Kirwan's honor represents a confirmation of his career at both Ohio State and at the University of Maryland, where he had a strong interest and commitment to improving opportunities in higher education for women and people of color.  "During your tenure, the university has made great strides in becoming more diverse and more welcoming," Board Chair James F. Patterson told Kirwan. "While we have a long way yet to go, you should feel good about the progress we have made under your leadership. Given your role in bringing the institute to where it is today, we have decided to name it in your honor."
Kirwan has long been known as "a principled and staunch proponent of diversity," Patterson said. "In acknowledging his visionary leadership in promoting the goals and values of diversity and academic excellence, the board felt that naming the institute in his honor was an extremely appropriate recognition of Dr. Kirwan's tenure at Ohio State," Patterson said.
In a highly emotional statement, Kirwan said he was deeply moved by the honor. "It is impossible for me to fully convey my feelings at this moment. To have my name associated with this great institute and university touches me in a way that nothing else has in my life," he said. "It means there will be an enduring bond for me to this university, something that is very, very important to me."


Francis Canavan
Phone: 301/445-2722