Honoring an Intercultural Legacy

February 6, 2017


When Jean Hamler, our first Director of Intercultural Affairs, recently returned to campus for the 25th anniversary of Intercultural Affairs at Stonehill, she got a surprise. She was honored for her pioneering work in support of diversity and inclusion. In addition, she learned that Diversity and Social Justice award program has been rededicated in tribute to her stellar service. Henceforth, it will be called the Jean Hamler Diversity and Social Justice Award program.

Presenting the award to Hamler before alumni, colleagues, students and friends at a celebration in the Martin Institute on Saturday evening, President John Denning, C.S.C. noted:

“Jean’s passion, advocacy, hard work, warm heart and ability to work with so many people all across campus created the foundation for what progress we have made in terms of diversity and inclusion at the College. As a result, she infused our commitment to “light and hope” with greater depth and a broader ability to bring students from different cultures, traditions and backgrounds to the table at Stonehill. She has been a role model, a leader and, at all times, a friend to students and peers, one who always welcomes and listens. She is a true educator of both the heart and the mind.”

"During a fourteen-year timeframe, we experienced a paradigm shift by raising the level of inclusion that valued different cultures and ideas, by actualizing and becoming a welcoming environment, by empowering underrepresented students to insert their voice in Student Government and participation on College committees, by focusing on the whole person that enabled all students to strive for a better world in and out of the classroom, and by seeking to change dialogue from 'that diversity thing' to the appreciation of the other," recalled Hamler. "We were able to influence policymakers to sustain programs and activities that consistently increased student diversity each year, and allowed for the achievement of our initial student diversity goal of 8% for the academic year 2000-2001. Today, student diversity at Stonehill College is at 14%." 

Hamler served the College for 23 years in three different roles, Director of Intercultural Affairs, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, and Associate Director of Planning and Institutional Research.

When asked by the Stonehill Alumni Magazine in 2015 what she had learned while working at the College for more than two decades, she replied:

“No one is an island unto him/herself. It takes different beliefs, values and thoughts to make Stonehill a great place to work as well as a great environment in which to live and learn.”