Local Leader Andrew Dinniman Raises $112,000 to Champion Diversity Initiatives

Former State Senator Andrew E. Dinniman has surpassed his goal of $100,000 to create the Dinniman Together Fund: Diversity Inclusion & Equity Endowment at West Chester University (WCU). The focus of the fund is to promote diversity and equity through a renewed emphasis on our common humanity. This announcement coincides with the anniversary of the final public speech of Frederick Douglass, which was held on the campus of West Chester State Normal School on February 1, 1895. More than a century later, the Dinniman Together Fund will continue the conversation by providing resources to support an annual gathering where the research and teaching knowledge of WCU faculty (past and present) may be shared with the greater Chester County community.

In recognition of the towering role that Douglass played as an advocate of social justice, West Chester University has done much to recognize the legacy of Douglass and his message. Dr. C. James Trotman, WCU professor emeritus of English, served as the first director of the Frederick Douglass Institute (FDI) at WCU, established in 1992, and Dr. Clifford E. DeBaptiste endowed the Frederick Douglass annual lecture series for others to continue to learn of the impact of Douglass.

Last fall, former State Senator Dinniman delivered the third annual Dr. Clifford E. DeBaptiste Frederick Douglass Institute Lecture entitled “The Life and Legacy and Legacy of Frederick Douglass in the America of 2022.” During his address, he stated, “Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. represent the prophetic tradition in American history, which calls for the nation to live up to its highest aspirations.”

At West Chester University, former State Senator Dinniman received the President’s Medallion for Service in 2015 and was named emeritus director of the Center for International Programs and Educational Development in 2021. During his time there, he taught undergraduate courses including African American History, Racial and Ethnic Understanding, and Global Studies, as well as graduate courses in public policy. He has served as director of both the Ethnic Studies Institute and the Center for International Programs. In October 2022, the West Chester Area Chamber of Commerce presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Chester County History Center will be using former State Senator Dinniman’s lecture as part of its Black History Month programs.

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