Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center History

a brief chronological overview


Since its founding 43 years ago, the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center has grown substantially to meet the needs of Boston College’s increasingly diverse student population, and has changed its name several times to reflect this growth and change. Today, BAIC serves 735 BC students each year through its 23 regular programs, and touches even more through single events, presentations, outreach, and collaboration with other BC departments. Key milestones in BAIC's evolution include:


  • Fr. Michael P. Walsh, S.J., then President of BC, initiated the Negro Talent Search (NTS) Program, allocating $100,000 over four years to serve X number of students.



  • The new President, Fr. Donald Monan, S.J., launched a study of Minority Education at BC, resulting in the replacement of the student-run Black Talent Program with the appointment of a full-time minority counselor and the program name was changed to “Minority Student Programs.”


  • With encouragement from a student group led by Alfred Feliciano and Valerie Lewis, the Board of Trustees approved the name change to "Office of AHANA (African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American) Student Programs."


  • With encouragement from a student group led by Alfred Feliciano and Valerie Lewis, the Board of Trustees approved the name change to "Office of AHANA (African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American) Student Programs."


 1979 to 2005

  • OASP flourished under Dr. Donald Brown, who established many hallmark programs such as the Options through Education (OTE) Transitional Summer Program and the Benjamin Elijah Mays Mentoring Program. 


  • The staff has continued to build upon this strong foundation with new initiatives, such as the Community Research Program (CRP), the SANKOFA Leadership Program, and Dialogues on Race (DOR), that respond to the needs of millennial student.


  • Celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Sister Thea Bowman Scholars Reception. In addition, the University Fellowship Committee attended the reception to share information about many fellowship and scholarship opportunities with the students.
  • Successfully completed the first year of CRP. The Academic Affairs Sub-Committee of the Educational Policy Committee of Arts and Science granted UN designation and 3 credits to the research seminar.
  • Provided leadership to celebrate Black History Month. We formed the first Black History Month Committee consisting of the AHANA Leadership Council, Residential Life, LTL/DIOP, NAACP, African Student Association, L'Association Haitienne, Black Student Forum, African and African Diaspora Studies, and the Career Center.


  • Received the “Residential Life Recognition of Excellence Award” and the “2009 Promising Practices in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs Collaboration Award” by NASPA’s Student Affairs Professionals Working With and In Academic Affairs (SAPAA) Knowledge Community.
  • Implemented new initiatives such as the Asian American track in CRP, the SANKOFA Leadership Program for males, and DOR.
  • Incorporated Sisters Let’s Talk and World Fiesta into OASP’ portfolio of programs.


  • Partnered with student groups to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the AHANA Acronym.
  • Celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the OTE Program.
  • Expanded SANKOFA Leadership Program to include sponsorship of an overnight retreat at the beginning of the year, group project presentations, basketball intramurals, and more community service.
  • Provided leadership to celebrate the first Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month.
  • Hand-delivered 463 care packages (notebook, a list of services we provide, business card, & candy) to the rooms of the Class of 2013 AHANA students.
  • Community Research Program, CRP, received the "Promising Practices Award" by NASAP and SAPAA


  • Convened a group of 22 faculty and administrators and 22 student leaders to discuss ways to better support Black students and create a stronger sense of community.
  • Collaborated with other leadership programs to bring to campus Michael K. Durkin, '77,President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.
  • Created a social media presence using Facebook, Twitter and MyBC.


  • The most important highlight of the year was completing the APR process and having the opportunity to reflect on our programs in order to consider ways in which we can serve the students more effectively.
  • A big highlight for the BHM committee was the involvement of Fr. Michael.  He was instrumental in coordinating meetings with Fr. Lahey, Fr. Tony Penna, and Fr. Jack Butler to inform and invite them to BHM events. At these meetings, we were able to present gifts to all of them and thank them for their continuous support.
  • November 2011 marked the first ever Native American Heritage Month celebration at Boston College, which we co-sponsored with the Society of Native American Peoples (SNAP).  Though a pilot program this first year, the reception and comments from students were both positive and encouraging.  Many students from SNAP began brainstorming on ways to enhance and improve the celebration next year.  The month long celebration consisted of four key events.  The opening ceremony, which had about 45 people in attendance, provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about Native American history, music, culture, and customs.  Those in attendance were able to purchase authentic Native American bags, jewelry, and much more.  The following three events consisted of a “Dream Catcher” workshop, an award winning movie screening about the Wampanoag tribe, and the month concluded with a cooking workshop on authentic Native American cuisine.
  • The two main highlights for 2012 APAHM were: 1) the expansion of Project HAPA – Project HAPA committee worked on four events through the months of March and April to get the discussion of multiracialism started on campus with a particular focus on hapa (people of mixed racial descent with partial Asian and/or Pacific Islander heritage) students; 2) the restructuring of the Festival event – The committee worked hard to collaborate with Asian Caucus and ALC organizations. Together, the Festival was more interactive for attendees
  • The Mays Mentoring Program celebrated its 20th Anniversary. For the Kick-Off Event, we invited Dr. Dereck Rovaris to speak on his knowledge of Dr. Mays as well as his research on the mentoring relationship. The 20th Anniversary also featured the Mentor/Protégé Spotlight videos; we commissioned LaDante McMillion (A&S, 2012) to interview mentor-protégé pairs to talk about what their relationship meant to them and how they had grown due to their mentorship. Five video spotlights were created in total.
  • We established an OTE Advisory Board consisting of alumni, current OTE students, parents, Boston College faculty, and experts in transitional programs.   The purpose of the committee is to advise, assist, promote, and support the OTE program allowing it grow and develop.  The Board had its first meeting in April 2012.


  • This year’s annual barbecue had one of the largest attendances, with about 250 students.  The increase in participation was due to a new evening schedule (6:00 pm to 8:00 pm) and a multi-prong approach to advertising, the southern barbecue provided by the Bureau of Conferences, the courtesy planners, and the music by Zumix, a non-profit organization that empowers youth to use music to make positive changes in their lives.
  • The Community Research Seminar was approved to fulfill the diversity requirement
  • APAHM celebrated its 10th anniversary
  • OASP organized an Anti-defamation League’s train-the-trainer program which included the departmental staff along with representatives from Residential Life and the Student Programs Office. 
  • The following new programs were created as a result of the APR process:
    • Identity Development Institute: This is a pilot program whose purpose is to create a safe space for the undergraduate students to reflect, gather, and engage in rich conversation in regards to their social identities (race, gender, social class).   These institutes will be done in conjunction with the Center for Student Formation and the Institute for the Promotion of Race and Culture. They will be assessed using a pre and post instrument and a survey to assess the impact of the program two months following their participation in the Institute.
    • Registered Student Organizations Cultural Competency Program: The program will create participant surveys for each individual workshop that will assess satisfaction with the training as well as what participants learned from participating in the training workshops in terms of diversity, identity, biases, etc.
    • Residential Advisors Cultural Competency Training Program: The program will create participant surveys for each individual training session/workshop that will assess satisfaction with the training as well as what participants learned from participating in the training workshops in terms of diversity, identity, biases, etc.
    • Pathways to Racial Justice Advocacy: The purpose of this faculty-facilitated pilot seminar is to provide students with the opportunity to (1) explore issues of white privilege in a facilitated, safe setting; (2) build upon one’s cultural competency; and (3) develop pathways to critical civic engagement for racial justice.


  • Community Building Activities, CBI: This initiative was created to help build unity across areas of difference within the undergraduate student population. Events include: Annual BLOCK Party, Bowman Art Collaborative, Sunday Linners, and Sister Thea Bowman Legacy Week
  • The summer of 2013 we hired a new Assistant Director, Mr. Joshua Manlove. Mr. Manlove's new role charges him with DOR and the Cultural Competency Programs.
  • The Office of AHANA Student Programs completed their Administrative Program Review (APR) process. This process included a new office name: Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center, and new office location: Maloney Hall, Suite 455.


  • Boston College rededicated the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center at its new location in Maloney Hall on Nov 13, 25 years after first bestowing Sister Bowman’s name on the headquarters for its efforts to promote diversity in the University Community.
2015 - 2016
  • Created a new leadership program, Bowman Advocates for Inclusive Culture, to help launch a pilot program to first year students involving the Campus of Difference cirriculum; Recruited and trained 24 Bowman Advocates for the 2016-2017 AY.
  • Planned, organized, and executed 14 cultural competency workshops/trainings, including 6 Campus of Difference workshops in the semester alone. Groups include: Women's Center Student Workers, Kostka Women's Experience, Multicultural Living Experience, Emerging Leaders Program, Appalachia Leaders, Health Coaches, Study Abroad Participants, Freshmen League Captains, and ERA class in the Lynch School. 
  • Postive growth in the Nursing Outreach Program, which included a semester newsletter, a new mentoring initiative, volunteer opportunities, and a stronger partnership with the CSON regarding diversity and student support.
Detailed history link