Multicultural Center / Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center
The Multicultural Center, home of the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, Casa Latina Cultural Center, the Women’s Center, and the LGBT*QA Resource Center, aims to advance the goals of educational, social, and cultural awareness. Together, the MCC provides resources to enhance the campus community’s understanding and appreciation of all identities.
During the spring of 1969, a task force of Western Illinois University students sought to establish a cultural center that would provide an ongoing academic and social experience for African American students. The University and the Board of Governors approved the recommendations of the task force and Burns Residence Hall on West Adams Street was chosen as the site for the new Black Cultural Center.
On March 21, 1970, the Center was renamed and dedicated in honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet laureate of Illinois, Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks, in recognition of her support for the establishment of the facility.
In 2004, the Western Illinois University Cultural Center Project Planning Committee was created by Vice President for Student Services Garry Johnson at the request of then President Al Goldfarb to develop a proposal for building a new facility that would house the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center (GBCC) in addition to many other campus cultural organizations.
The Multicultural Center was officially opened August of 2009, and is located across the street from the University Union. The center is unique in that it is the first building on Western’s Macomb campus to be constructed under green standards, including a grass roof. In 2019, ten years after the opening of the building, the Multicultural Center welcomed the LGBT*QA Resource Center as the fourth member of the MCC family.
The center is now home to the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, the Casa Latina Cultural Center, the LGBT*QA Resource Center, and the Women’s Center, that each work together uner the Director of the MCC, the Program Coordinator, the Events Administrator, the Office Administrator, a team of Graduate Assistants, and all of our Student Ambassadors.
The Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center is committed to helping the campus community adjust to a multicultural and multiracial society without regard to race, age, creed, economic status, or position in life. This commitment is fulfilled primarily through the sponsorship of programs designed to broaden the public’s awareness of African American heritage and culture.
Funds are being raised for a Gwendolyn Brooks Memorial Park which will occupy the open lot located adjacent to the WIU Alumni Center and across West Adams Street from Lake Ruth where GBCC building once stood. The memorial park will be used to host various GBCC programs throughout the year.