The CMI celebrates 25 years with the OU community


Ryan Pini

CMI Senior Director Omar Brown-El

The Center for Multicultural Initiatives (CMI) at Oakland University will be hosting its 25th Anniversary reunion weekend from Friday, June 29 to Saturday, June 30.

Friday will feature a mix and mingle event in the Banquet Rooms of the Oakland Center from 6 p.m.–8 p.m., allowing guests to “reconnect with CMI family.”

With the family together, Saturday kicks off with a family reunion style barbecue lunch from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. at the Elliot Tower.

Following lunch, CMI student leaders will be leading tours of OU’s campus from 2 p.m.–4 p.m., starting at the CMI office in North Foundation Hall.

The weekend comes to a close with a 25th Anniversary Gala featuring previous CMI directors in the Oakland Center Banquet Rooms from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The CMI, formerly The Office of Minority Equity and The Office of Equity, works with the mission to “provide support for underrepresented students’ success and to foster an appreciation for campus wide diversity.” This is carried out through various programs, support services and scholarships.

Programs include events during Hispanic Heritage Month and African American Celebration Month, men’s and women’s leadership retreats and the Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Awards.  

“[It is] a scholarship awarded to OU students that have demonstrated academic success as well as promoted interracial understanding here on our campus,” said CMI Senior Director Omar Brown-El. “Those students are recognized formally at the annual Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Awards.”

The CMI’s website states that the Keeper of the Dream is awarded in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Candidates are required to meet a 3.0 GPA minimum, have a “clear career focus and academic persistence” and be planning to return to OU for the next fall and winter semesters.   

While the CMI offers several scholarships to qualifying students, one of the most significant scholarships is the OU Trustee Academic Success program. The OUTAS program was introduced in 1994 as a student retention program and today has the highest retention and graduation rates of all students at OU, according to Brown-El.  

Another program is called CORE – Collectively Oakland Retains Everyone. CORE is another retention program focused on first year students. CORE allows for qualifying first year students that live on campus to have a support network through the CMI, providing academic and financial aid advising, campus resources support and academic skill development, according to the CORE website.

Students involved in CORE not only have the support of the CMI but also the support of CORE ambassadors, fellow students who meet with CORE participants on a weekly basis.

The CORE program, and by extension the CMI, have been successful in setting up and supporting the academic careers of many students in the OU community. One student who has benefited is Tia Mullins, a CORE participant turned mentor.

“I was given the privilege to have an upperclassmen from the CMI office guide me through my first two years of college,” she said. “With the CMI, I was able to maintain over a 3.0 GPA, receive another scholarship and gain connections that will last a lifetime.”

Full information for the CMI’s 25th anniversary can be found on the CMI’s events page. RSVPs for the weekend ended back in May, but interested parties can still contact the CMI.