Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Office of Multicultural Affairs Records, 1986-2009

Historical Note:

Formed in 1991, the Office of Multicultural Affairs assists OSU in the promotion of cultural diversity, awareness, and sensitivity throughout the campus community. In this capacity, the office serves as a resource for the OSU community and the region in understanding multicultural issues; helps in the recruitment and retention of students, staff, and faculty from ethnic, racial, and other underrepresented groups; participates in curriculum development; and provides consultation services to all academic and support units.

The development of the Office of Multicultural Affairs is rooted in recommendations made by two advisory bodies, the OSU Board of Visitors and the Minority Affairs Commission. Created by President Byrne in 1986 to investigate ways to enhance diversity at OSU, the Board of Visitors advocated for the formation of a Minority Affairs Commission, which, in turn, argued for the establishment of an office devoted to addressing multicultural affairs. Phyllis Lee became the office’s first director.

After Lee retired in 2003, the Office of Multicultural Affairs was renamed the Office of Community and Diversity and Terryl Ross appointed as new director in 2004. The basic mission of the office, however, did not change.

Appointed to the OSU Board of Visitors in 1986, Phyllis Lee served as acting director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs before assuming the directorship in 1992. After earning a doctorate in counseling from OSU in 1983, Lee worked for Kaiser Permanente in Portland before returning to campus in 1991. Lee also worked as a public school teacher and in counseling education at Portland State University prior to her post with the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

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