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DATE: Jan. 30, 2004

University Center opening will unite campus

DEARBORN--Three days of special events under the theme of "Uniting our Campus" have been scheduled for Feb. 4-6 to celebrate the opening of the University Center.

"Student life at the University of Michigan-Dearborn took a very major step forward with the opening of the University Center last November," according to Donna McKinley, vice chancellor for student affairs. "We hope the grand opening festivities will show off some of the connections that the building has been designed to support and stimulate the interactions that are an essential part of the learning experience."

Among other events, the festivities will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 4 with a day of programming by student organizations followed by an evening of entertainment including a casino night. Several musical performances have been scheduled during the grand opening, including appearances by the U-M men's and women's glee clubs and other groups. Comedian Jon Reep, known for appearances in Dodge truck commercials, will appear at noon, Feb. 4 on the Center Stage.

Student-led and self-directed tours will be offered throughout the three days, with special rewards offered to those who complete "passports" indicating they've visited a certain number of offices and facilities in the building.

A formal dedication ceremony, which is open to all members of the community, has been scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5 on the building's Center Stage. Instead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the event will feature a "ribbon tying," commemorating the building's purpose of uniting the campus.

On Friday, Feb. 6, author and cultural critic Kevin Powell will be the keynote speaker at "A Conversation on Race: Voices of a New Generation," from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room. Powell was a cast member in the first season of the MTV series "The Real World" and has written numerous books and articles on hip-hop music and other racial and social issues.

His presentation will be followed by a forum for students to discuss some of the attitudes and feelings about race. The program is a collaboration of UM-Dearborn and New Detroit, an organization whose mission is to address racial issues in the Detroit metropolitan area. Reservations are required for this event and can be obtained by contacting the Student Activities Office.

For more information on the University Center opening activities, see the Web site www.umd.umich.edu/universitycenter.

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