BGSU honors Dr. Robert L. Perry ’59, ’65 in recognition of legacy of diversity and belonging

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Bowling Green State University is honoring Dr. Robert L. Perry ’59, ’65 the inaugural director of the University’s ethnic studies program, with the naming of the Robert L. Perry Veranda.  

Located at Shatzel Hall, the Robert L. Perry Veranda recognizes Perry’s legacy of shaping diversity and belonging initiatives at BGSU.

The BGSU Board of Trustees approved the naming at the May 21 meeting. Among his vast accomplishments, Perry helped establish the University’s Cultural Diversity in the United States requirement in 1992, profiled in The Chronicle of Higher Education as the first of its kind at any university in the country. The requirement continues today and serves as the foundation of the University’s efforts to educate all students on the importance of race and democracy.

“Dr. Perry was a trailblazer in shaping empowerment and inclusion at BGSU and beyond,” said Jennifer McCary, chief diversity officer at BGSU. “His legacy is seen today, not only on our campus, but at universities across the country in a commitment to establishing a culture of diversity and belonging through intentionality in curriculum.”  

Perry, distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ethnic Studies, retired in 1997 after chairing the department for nearly two decades.

The ethnic studies program at BGSU was formed in 1970 by then-President William T. Jerome and became a full department in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1979. Now, more than 50 years later, the department is one of the oldest in the nation focusing on interdisciplinary studies of race.

“For more than 50 years, BGSU has been a leader in race and ethnic studies through curriculum, research and community service because of Dr. Perry’s leadership and contributions,” said Dr. Joe B. Whitehead, Jr., provost and senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs. “The Robert L. Perry Veranda will forever serve as a reminder of Dr. Perry’s pioneering leadership along with a reminder of progress as a university and nation and it will inspire us all to continue building a community where we all belong.”

The Department of Ethnic Studies will host the 2021 Association for Ethnic Studies conference Nov. 5 and 6 to mark the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Ethnic Studies program at BGSU.

Updated: 05/24/2021 09:00AM