Racial Inclusion

Karen Pennington

Karen Pennington joined the University of Scranton in 1972 when the University of Scranton first had coeducation. She was one of the first Black women that enrolled there, where she received a degree in history. In her Junior and Senior years, she was a resident assistant and therefore was in the student affairs office a great deal.

In 1980, with experience in interacting with students and planning, Karen Pennington came back to the University of Scranton, where she was the Associate Dean of Students for five years. She has a master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history from the University of Scranton, and also has doctorates in Educational Administration and in Counselling. She was regarded “As the first black to be named to a position within the ruling structure of the U,” She was also on the Board of Trustees of the University of Scranton from 2003 to 2012. She later went to Montclair State University, where she was the vice president for Student Development and Campus Life. Karen Pennington recently retired after working there for 22 years.

Clubs and Organizations

The first recorded instance of a Black Club at the University of Scranton was the Black Culture Club. It was started in 1980, with its First Official Representative being Gary Bell. Various articles were written in the Aquinas from members of this club, some about recent events then. There were no more instances of the Black Culture Club after 1984. 

The next club to appear was the African American Society. It was started by Joyce C. Corbin in 1989 but started to pick up in 1990. There were activities on campus so that people could learn more about Black culture, and to make the campus more friendly for African-American people. This continued until 1997 when it was integrated into the Multicultural Center.

Diversity: The University of Scranton’s Metamorphosis

The documentary below was produced during the 2013-2014 academic year by The University of Scranton’s Office of Equity and Diversity, and it premiered in May 2014. The retrospective celebrated how students, staff, faculty, and the community evolved over time. 

Hosted and Narrated by Julia Ekwall, Johnathan McNamee, and Viviana Sanchez
Directed by Jennifer Pennington
Filmed and edited by James Pennington
Elisa Grave, Paul Porter, Jennifer LaPorta, Christos Diamantidis, Chelsea Holland, Hal Baillie, Marybeth Holmes, Sherman Wooden, Father Ron McKinney, S.J., Karen Pennington, Ellen Miller Casey, David Wenzel, Keith Williams, Lt. Col. Ryan Remley, Marc Shapiro, Sharon Meagher, Marian Farrell, Michael O. Mensah, Debra Pellegrino, Lori Bruch, Ann A. Pang-White, Riaz Hussain, Stephen J. Casey, Joe Roback, Paul A. Datti, Tara Fay, Murli Rajan, Mark Murphy, Jim Muniz, May Ellen Pichiarello, Maryann Stefko, Julee Modzelewski, Morris Mertz, Kenneth Tong, Christian Burne, Maureen Bullis, Christie Garrecht, Kimberly Monestime, Luis Espinal, Kendrick Monestime, Charles Kratz, Michael Knies, Mark Carmody, John Monahan, Mike Owens, Renee Giovagnioli, Kym Fetsko, Aileen McHale, Glen Pace, Lori Ryan, JoAnn Pane, Kris Tomaine, Hans Patel, Seth Gross