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David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering

A Letter from the Director

Welcome to the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences and Engineering!

The Kearns Center houses Arts, Sciences and Engineering’s educational pipeline programs, with a specific focus on developing talent among low-income, first-generation college, and underrepresented minority students, from middle school through the doctorate and beyond.  We are organized into three main program areas: pre-college, college, and graduate, with each area having an Associate Director or Director with a reporting line to me, who oversee the staff members working directly on student service, data collection, research, and reporting.  You will find a staff directory in the Contact Us hyperlink.

The Center provides educational guidance, scholarships, and a myriad of supportive services to students who come from low-income families, will be (or already are) the first person in their family to earn a college degree, and/or who come from racial groups identified by the federal government as underrepresented in higher education (African American, Native American or Hispanic). We also help develop and guide the university’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

The last year has been a busy and productive one for us: we expanded our name and our reach, from a narrower focus on students in science and engineering, to encompass students in every intellectual discipline.  We celebrated with our first Upward Bound high school graduates, all of whom enrolled in college, travelled with our sophomore and junior Upward Bound Scholars to Washington, DC for a college tour and many cultural and educational activities, took a group of our McNair and Xerox Scholars to Missoula Montana to present their research at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, hosted Arts, Sciences and Engineering’s first-ever Potential Graduate Applicant Visitation Program, welcomed a panel of distinguished McNair alumni back to campus for a discussion on success in graduate school, watched with pride as our college class of 2010 wore their Kearns Center stoles at commencement and won many departmental honors, and were honored to receive one of the university’s first Presidential Diversity and Inclusion Awards.

Recently, I was privileged to speak on behalf of the McNair Program nationally to a meeting of the Congressional TRIO Caucus, and attend a meeting with President Obama’s top education policy-makers.  For this country to regain our position as first in the world in terms of college graduation, and in order to permanently reverse the economic downturn, we absolutely require the full participation of all of our citizens—the Kearns Center’s programs enable students regardless of background to fulfill their aspirations.

This website is designed for a variety of audiences: students and parents seeking programs for themselves or their children, faculty seeking assistance with grant proposals or looking for students to join their research projects, colleagues from across the country (and world) looking for model programs and ways to enhance their service to students, and those seeking ways to contribute to the financial stability of the Center.  Please do not hesitate to contact us to help you find what you are looking for.


Beth Olivares, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Diversity Initiatives
Executive Director, David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences and Engineering
University of Rochester

Learn more about our giving opportunities here. For more information, please contact
Irene Doktor, director of development, (585) 275-9827,