The new William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center on Central Campus was created and designed to be an inclusive environment.

The interior walls of the first-floor lounge are lined with screen-printed images of student activism on campus that dates back to the 1960s.

The main staircase is accented with 558 photos of current University of Michigan students to represent the diversity of the student body.

Throughout the 20,000-square-foot building, brightly colored, mid-century-modern-style furniture is set off by abstract art and a muraled Desmond Tutu quote that promotes respect.

On Thursday, the U-M community is invited to celebrate the Trotter Multicultural Center opening in a new location at 428 S. State Street. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house to learn more about the center begins at 11 a.m.

Photo of a tour of the Trotter Center
Julio Cardona, director of the Trotter Multicultural Center, guides a group of visitors through the new facility. (Photo by Daryl Marshke, Michigan Photography)

The $10 million center is prominently located near the heart of Central Campus, just a short walk from the Michigan Union. It will serve students of many cultural identities and is planned to be a home dedicated to celebrating and fostering U-M’s diversity in a way that is inclusive and more visible.

“This is an historic occasion, not just for the University of Michigan, but for our students and graduates, the society we serve and the shared future we hope to create,” President Mark Schlissel said.

“The Trotter Multicultural Center shows us the potential of what we can be, as a great public university, and what we must do together, to advance our values of excellence, diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Named after African-American civil rights activist William Monroe Trotter, the Trotter Center is recognized as the product of student resilience and activism. Inspired by the advocacy of the Black Student Union and with the support of campus leadership, the new facility replaces the center’s 11,000-square-foot Washtenaw Avenue location, which had been its home since 1972.

“Our students spoke up, and showed up, calling not just for a building, but for a home, the kind where they could connect with the history and energy of students who came before,” said E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life.

Photo fo the Trotter Center stairway and photos of students
Visitors to the Trotter Multicultural Center are greeted by a wall of photos that feature current U-M students, reflecting the diversity of the student body. (Photo by Daryl Marshke, Michigan Photography)

The new facility features a variety of rooms including academic, meeting and performance practice spaces, group spaces for student organizations, a full kitchen, an outdoor roof-top garden, office space, a prayer/meditation room, and a foot bathing station — the first on Ann Arbor’s campus.

To maintain the history and significance of the Trotter Multicultural Center, students led and were actively involved in the entire updating process, including the selection of the location, interior design and determining the optimal use of the space.

The new Trotter Center building aspires to exemplify the student activism that produced it by providing its traditional staple programming, uplifting the memory of William Monroe Trotter’s activism and living into its tradition of being a home away from home, said Julio Cardona, who was appointed director of the Trotter Center last July.

“The center aims to provide an educational space that empowers diversity and uses social justice as a foundation for its commitment to the recruitment, retention and success of students,” Cardona said.

Tags: