Welcome to the Black/African American Cultural Center


B/AACC'S website

Our mission

The Black/African American Cultural Center is available to all students, staff, alumni and community members who identify with or are interested in Black/African American culture and heritage as they transition to and through Colorado State University and beyond. Belonging is a hallmark of this office, which strives to provide a family-like support system made up of many people and resources to help students succeed.

B/AACC prides itself on being a place where all students can enhance their knowledge of the culture, history, heritage and traditions that are unique to the African American experience.

Our history

In the late 1960s, about 40 Black students attended Colorado State. True to nationwide upheaval during this decade, CSU students began protesting to voice their needs and wants for a more supportive learning environment.

Creation of Project GO & Ethnic-Centric Classes

A student sit-in at the office of then Colorado State President William Morgan led to creation of a task force that eventually would take requests from the University’s Black and Hispanic student coalitions. The requests led to creation of ethnic-centric classes and creations of Project GO, which stood for Generating Opportunities. Project GO was a retention and services program designed to assist Colorado State's Black and Hispanic students. It would evolve into what is now the Black/African American Cultural and Resource Center and El Centro.

Vivian Kerr: First Director who Increased Visibility & Initiatives

Vivian Kerr was the Center’s first director. A former CSU athlete, Kerr participated in the original protests and would lead the office to increased visibility throughout the University, local community and beyond. Kerr developed initiatives that stand today, including "The Griot," a newsletter for Black and African American students; the annual fall new student retreat; and the original grant for the Academic Advancement Center, or TRIO Program. Developing TRIO led to Kerr becoming first Director of Colorado State's Academic Advancement Center.

Previously located in former residence hall rooms of Aylesworth Hall, which was demolished in 2021, the Black/African American Cultural Center would move to the Lory Student Center in 1997, and become part of the Student Diversity Programs and Services “neighborhood,” brought together with the revitalization and expansion of the Lory Student Center in 2015.

A Foundation of Belonging

The B/AACC prides itself on being a “home away from home” where students can eat, study, socialize, hold meetings and more. It provides information and resources for students to navigate all aspects of University life, whether academic, financial, advising, educational, counseling, social or career prep.

The office estimates that half of the self-identified Black population at Colorado State frequents the office, and about 10 percent of visitors identify as non-black students.

Our timeline

Explore the rich history of CSU's Black/African American Cultural Center, born from the dedication and passion of students like Vivian Kerr, whose collective efforts transformed protests and sit-ins into empowering initiatives.
HISTORIC HomecomingS

Today, CSU Homecoming highlights the University's PACESETTERS. But royalty of the past included Trudi Morrison as CSU's first Black Homecoming Queen (Joe Rogers, who later became Deputy Governor for Colorado, was the first Black Homecoming King in the 1980s).

Vivian Kerr Named First Director

Kerr, a former CSU athlete, led protests that led to creation of Project GO, Black Student Services and El Centro. The office gained visibility beyond CSU and Fort Collins under Kerr's leadership.

Dawn R. Person Becomes Director

During her tenure, new student organizations were added and existing ones revamped (e.g., Black Cable Television, Black Business Scholars Assoc., Big Brother/Sister, Black Campus Ministries, Black Alumni Network).

Blanche M. Hughes Becomes Director

B/AACC's longest-serving director fostered partnerships with University departments, Athletics, admissions, the President’s office, other Universities & corporations. She is currently CSU's VP for Student Affairs.

Black Issues Forum Launched

CSU's Black Issues Forum partners with several university departments for a successful event. High school seniors are exposed to college life while discussing current Black social issues.

Alumnus Joe Rogers Named Lieutenant Governor

From 1999 to 2003, Colorado State Alum and former CSU Homecoming King Joe Rogers serves as the 45th Lieutenant Governor of Colorado under Governor Bill Ritter.

Pursuit of Excellence Awards Ceremony

The B/AACC office’s signature annual event partnered with the alumni and development offices to celebrate student academic and involvement achievements, award scholarships, and welcome alumni.

Former Assistant Director Duan Ruff Returns

Former Assistant Director Duan Ruff returns as director of the Black/African American Cultural Center.

Our staff

Meet the dedicated staff at 
B/AACC. We are committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for all students, staff, alumni and community members interested in Black/African American culture and heritage.

B/AACC's page
Duan Ruff, MBA
Ruff has spent his professional life serving in education and wellness as a teacher, administrator and director in the Denver and Fort Collins communities. He believes that Education leadership is about service to students and colleagues.