Student smiles for selfie during DPAS annual new student reception and cookout.

Why Giving Matters

Opportunity defines a DPAS education. Lives change dramatically here. Careers take shape. Students fulfill their potential. Your success story probably started here, too.

When you invest in Pan-African Studies, you enable opportunity to take root and thrive. It grows first for our students, who bring a special grit and determination to their studies, and next for our programs, faculty, and region.

This is an exciting time for Pan-African Studies, as we continue to transform 21st century teaching and learning, secure our place among the nation’s great urban research universities, raise new structures and rise in the rankings. We are graduating more talented classes of DPAS professionals, capable and determined to make an impact in their communities and around the globe.

Giving Opportunities

We encourage you to give to the areas that are most meaningful to you.


At Kent State, more than 82 percent of students receive some type of financial support, and 1,100 donor-funded scholarships are awarded each year. By choosing scholarships as the "type of gift" to give to, you support our efforts to continue to put students first in all we do. Please consider a gift to one of these scholarship funds:

Oscar Ritchie Scholarship Fund

This scholarship supports students majoring or minoring in Pan-African Studies and who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.

Kimberly Todd-White Endowment for Pan-African Studies

This scholarship was established by family, friends and fellow faculty members of Kimberly Todd-White. Kimberly graduated from Kent State University in 1988 with a B.A. in English and in 1990 with an M.A. in English. She stayed at Kent, and followed her passion for teaching for 20 years, guiding students through Honors English and Pan-African Studies, making herself available to them day and night. Kimberly was awarded "Favorite Teacher Recognition" several times and in 2010 received the "Honors Faculty of the Year" award. Named in her memory, this scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students majoring or minoring in Pan-African Studies. Preference is given to a student with a GPA of 2.8 or higher.

Study Away/Study Abroad

In DPAS we feel it is critical to engage students in high-impact experiences that have the power to change their perspective on life. By supporting students and altering their world view, we have the greatest opportunity to help them uncover their purpose and passions. Our goal is to prepare students to contribute as globally aware citizens intent on addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges. Your gift to study away/study abroad will support programs such as these:

Ghana Study Abroad

To provide students and community stakeholders with a unique chance to explore 21st century life-at both the village and the city levels-in a modern West African nation.

This course will address topics in: public health; education; sociology; public policy; government. Through comparative analysis students will be challenged to think critically about observations they make in Ghana. Students will participate in cultural, academic and service learning activities. Assessment in the course will be done through de-briefings, personal reflection, active participation and production of a final report.

Students will have the opportunity to visit: Kwame Nkrumah Memorial; National Museum of Ghana; W.E.B. DuBois Center; Osu Christianborg Castle; The 28th Cross Roads; Makola Market; Kakum Canopy Walk; Cape Coast Castle; Elmina Castle; Kumasi; Asantehene's Palace; Adinkra/Kente Weavers; Wood Carvers; Boti Falls.

Senegal Study Abroad
Model African Union- Washington D.C.

Study African politics “in practice” and the achievements and obstacles of the African Union (AU) by meeting with African diplomats and scholars in Washington D.C.; and learn African history by preparing for, attending, and writing about a simulated summit of the African Union in Washington D.C. for one week.

Students study past and current issues that confront Africa and the African Union (AU). The African Union is Africa’s equivalent of the European Union. In addition to attending classes here at KSU throughout the semester, students travel with a DPAS professor to Washington, D.C. to attend a mock meeting of the AU where global policies and economic, social and political issues facing Africa will be discussed. These issues include health, education, human rights, finances, women’s rights, literacy, environment, foreign policy, international relations, public policy, child soldiers, border conflicts, war, peace, immigration, the arts and others.

In Washington, D.C., students also visit Howard University, different African Embassies, and work with students and faculty from 30 American universities and colleges who also participate in the Model AU.


Black Images- Detroit, MI

This class examines the historical origins of racial images and anti-black perceptions through newspapers, magazines, songs, plays, literature, textbooks, radio, television, films, comic books, etc. and the role of these images in American culture past and present.

Proposed trip itinerary is as follows: Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, Host David Pilgrim, Ph.D., Founder. Charles H. Wright African American History Museum Host Mama Kuba. Motown Museum, Home of Hitsville U.S.A.

Black Images- Detroit, MI

Center of Pan-African Culture

CPAC is open to all who are looking for culturally diverse activities. The Center not only offers academic enrichment, but social and cultural enrichment through its promotion of local, regional, and international invitations to scholars and artists worldwide to share their ideas and experiences. Specifically, the center provides the opportunity and facilities for exposition of diverse art forms -- painting, sculpture, oral and written literature music, dance, theatre -- and other cultural modes of expression that globally define people of African descent. The unique physical plant of CPAC is suitable for a wide variety of academic, professional and cultural programming. Your gift to CPAC will support programs like these:

African Community Theatre

The African Community Theatre in the Department of Pan-African Studies increases exposure to and knowledge of the theatre heritage of African American for student and local community residents of all ages. Students enhance communication skills and gain awareness and appreciation of the African American heritage as depicted through theatre. Established in 1970, the African Community Theatre brings awareness and appreciation of the experiences of people of African descent as illustrated through theatrical performances.

Pan-African Theatre Ensemble (PATE)

Established in the fall 2016 by D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson, the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble is a non-profit, repertory theatre developed for ongoing research in Pan-African theatre and performance in the Department of the Pan-African Studies at Kent State University. The primary mission of the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble is to promote black theatre in the United States and around the world.

African Community Theatre

Fulani Institute of Academics and Arts

Since 2017, this creative and cultural enrichment institute is intended to use cultural and academic enrichment to critically and creatively empower youth to be change agents in their communities and beyond. The overall vision of FIAA is to co-create space for young people to be affirmed in themselves so that they are prepared to work effectively in their own best interests.

In addition, it may offer training and teaching experience for professionals who are preparing for careers in education. An immediate goal is to engage and expand the knowledge base of youth in the Kent community and its surrounding areas through an offering of academic, cultural, and creative workshops and activities.

Uumbaji Art Gallery

The Uumbaji Art Gallery is a space dedicated to examining themes about global Africa and its diasporas, social justice and other social justice issues facing Peoples of Color. However, it is also a space that embraces themes not directly related to Africa and its diasporas. We exhibit multimodalities of art based on the quality, how it fits within our theme, as well as the interest an exhibition may have for the entire university and surrounding community. We encourage artists to exhibit work that reflects a variety of media, styles and viewpoints.

Uumbaji Gallery

Institute for African American Affairs (IAAA)/New World Studies

Currently, the Institute for African American Affairs (IAAA) serves as the research arm of the Department of Pan-African Studies. IAAA supports students and faculty collaboration as well as sponsors workshops for the University and community to train professionals and students in culturally appropriate curriculum and pedagogy. Your gift to IAAA will support programs such as these:

Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference

IAAA is instrumental in holding a biennial conference titled: Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference. This conference is especially significant because it provides faculty and students with the opportunity to showcase their research to a wider audience. Since its inception in 2012, we have hosted three conferences themed: Cultures, Identities, and Racial Violence in the Pan-African World, 2016; Revisiting Black History, Identities and Popular Culture, 2014; Slavery Colonialism and African Identities in the Atlantic World 2012. In total over 500 people throughout the world have visited the Department of Pan-African to participate in the Africa and the Global Atlantic World Conference.

Lunch and Learn Series

Each semester the Institute hosts up to three Lunch and Learn presentations; these lunch-time presentations provide faculty with opportunities each fall and spring semester to make presentations on the third Wednesday of the month. This speaker series is intended to serve as a forum where scholars and professionals across campus can showcase research and creative interests. Moreover, it is an opportunity to dialogue with peers, staff and students on topics related to but not limited to the global African experience, social justice and issues affecting Native Americans, Latino Americans and people of African descent.

Your Gift's Impact

Your generous support helps sustain the department’s founding mission of accessibility and educational excellence, ensuring Pan-African Studies’ bold future.

Gifts in Action

Victoria Jackson, 2012, State Policy Fellow, Policy Matters Ohio

Victoria Jackson is state policy fellow with Policy Matters Ohio. Jackson is one of eight fellows selected nationally through a highly competitive process by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Her research focuses on K-12 education, higher education, and food assistance policy.

Jackson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Pan-African Studies from Kent State University in 2012. Her educational and personal experiences as a student in the Department of Pan-African Studies have shaped her orientation to policy research. Jackson holds a master’s of public administration from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining Policy Matters, she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer with College Now Greater Cleveland, advising high school students at two Cleveland Metropolitan School District high schools on college access. While in graduate school, Jackson worked as a graduate assistant for the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and for the Ohio Department of Education.

"The Department of Pan-African Studies provided me with the foundation for understanding how historical and contemporary systems of oppression harm and deny Black people opportunity. That perspective combined with the writing and analysis skills I learned shape how I move through the world and my work as a policy analyst. Equally important are the relationships I built with peers and faculty who taught me a lot and encouraged and supported me personally and professionally. My DPAS family has directly helped me with getting a position with AmeriCorps, a full-ride fellowship for graduate school, internships in graduate school, and my current fellowship position with a national policy research organization."

DaMareo Cooper, 2008, Executive Director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative

DaMareo is the executive director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a statewide organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyday Ohioans. He has played an integral role in shaping and developing the OOC’s electoral and community organizing campaigns across the state since 2008. His passion for organizing grew out of the love for the community in which he was raised, and currently lives (Akron, Ohio). DaMareo has spent his career working with leaders in communities of color, and developing campaigns to address issues of race and economic inequality in grassroots communities. Over the last decade, he has worked on statewide and local electoral campaigns by training hundreds of low-income grassroots activists. In an effort to integrate community organizing and civic engagement models, he conducted training in traditional organizing, movement building, and running effective civic engagement programs to create a larger community impact.

“The Department of Pan-African Studies gave me the knowledge, tools, and confidence I needed in order to understand systemic inequality and its impact on my community. Knowing my history was crucial for me to have the mental fortitude and confidence in my own ability to build alliances, lead and advocate for social change.”

Robin Wright, 2012, Assistant Director of Social Change & Leadership, University of Cincinnati

Equity & Inclusion Change Consultant experienced in working with Nonprofit & Corporate Leaders, K-12 Educators and Administrators, and Higher Education Faculty and Staff. Skilled in the art of facilitation and the creation of customized diversity trainings complete with evaluation components. A proven change agent who possesses both practical experience and a firm pedagogical foundation on topics related to cultural change, equity, and inclusion.

“My academic experience at Kent State has been largely shaped and impacted by the Department of Pan-African Studies. All of the classes I’ve taken in that department have greatly influenced and developed my perception of the world, of African Cultures and of myself."

"Choosing to obtain a bachelor's degree in Pan-African Studies from Kent State University is one of the best academic and professional decisions I have ever made. Pan-African Studies equipped me with the knowledge and tools necessary for my personal and professional development by challenging me to think critically about the historical and contemporary "systems" and "institutions" that continue to shape our world. Through Pan-African Studies not only did I develop a deeper sense of self and cultural pride, but I also studied the various strategies and frameworks for community engagement and development. Since graduating, I have continued to utilize those skills in my graduate study as well as in my career.

Like all recent graduates, solidifying gainful and meaningful employment was among the difficulties faced after completing my degree; however, my difficulties were mitigated by the strong mentorship and support I received from faculty in the Department of Pan-African Studies who constantly encouraged me to cultivate my professional skills throughout undergrad. They encouraged and supported me as I engaged in internships and opportunities that allowed me to utilize the knowledge and skills accumulated in the classroom. There are a plethora of organizations and institutes doing very important work around issues related to the things I learned in Pan-African studies and the faculty in the department helped to connect me to those opportunities. Furthermore, I received amazing recommendations that enabled me to obtain a full-ride fellowship to graduate school. Needless to say, I owe much of my success to my wonderful experience in the Department of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University."

Donor Recognition

Every year, tens of thousands of individuals and organizations collectively invest in the university’s future. This support translates into critical funding for our programs, and educational experiences that help drive students’ success and DPAS’ contributions to Kent and the world. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of our donors and their commitment to help sustain DPAS’ educational mission.