by Serenity Sosa,
UniteNews Contributing Writer
Throughout my academic journey at Drury University, I have had the honor of closely collaborating with Dr. Rosalyn Thomas, whose impactful role as the Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion resonates across our campus. Dr. Thomas has left an indelible mark by spearheading initiatives such as the Kente Stole ceremony for African-American graduates, providing leadership for the Drury Bridges program, and actively participating in the renovation committee of the Benton Avenue African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Her commitment to diversity work has been unwavering, and she navigates challenges with remarkable strength and conviction. Dr. Thomas, a woman of both subtle and bold talents, dedicates herself tirelessly to enriching the student experience for minority students, seamlessly moving from one meaningful meeting to another.
In recognition of her outstanding contributions, the idea of a tribute bench for Dr. Thomas took root during our annual fashion show last February. Despite the success of the event, which raised over $700 for personal BUIC funds, the executive council of Black United Independent Collegiate (BUIC) unanimously decided to channel these funds into honoring our esteemed advisor. Over the summer, collaborative efforts with campus facilities, Chip Parker, the Business Office, and the Dean of Students culminated in the successful acquisition of a tribute bench on July 31st.
Our Vice-President, Cristian Cuevas, exhibited exceptional diligence, working on campus to liaise with facilities and secure the perfect location for the bench. Despite the challenge of keeping this heartfelt project a secret for three months, our commitment remained steadfast. The culmination of our collective efforts unfolded in an intimate ceremony on November 9th at 6:00 pm at Drury University. This event not only brought together Dr. Thomas’s family, friends, and numerous community members but also served as a poignant moment for the unveiling of the tribute bench—a lasting and fitting symbol of our deep gratitude for her guidance and profound influence in our lives.