Programs and Events

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To advance and promote our commitment to an inclusive and diverse campus community, the University invests in a wide range of programming and initiatives for students, faculty, and staff. Here, you can find details on all of our upcoming events, from guest speakers to professional development opportunities and more.

Celebrating Literary Voices to Create an Inclusive Culture

Martin Espada, Antionette Brim-Bell, and Benjamin Grossberg
Martin Espada, Antionette Brim-Bell, and Benjamin Grossberg
Tuesday, March 21 | 6–7:30 p.m.

Join us for the Spring 2023 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lecture Series in Wilde Auditorium where noted poets Martin Espada, Antionette Brim-Bell, and Benjamin Grossberg will read from their work and join a conversation about this year’s DEI Lecture Series theme of Celebrating Literary Voices to Create an Inclusive Culture.

Women's History Month

Women's History Month Graphic

Women’s History Month commemorates and raises awareness of the historical and contemporary contributions of women. The celebration’s roots can be traced to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. Women’s History Week was first held during the week of March 8, 1978, in Sonoma County, California. The celebration evolved into a week that was celebrated nationally after U.S. President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. Congress passed a law in 1987 which designated the month of March 1987 as Women’s History Month. Since 1988, U.S. presidents have issued proclamations designating March as Women’s History Month. Today’s Women’s History Month is celebrated internationally.

Annual Heritage Months & Observances

Throughout the year, UHart commemorates national heritage months and identity acknowledgements. These recognitions are an opportunity for all members of the community to continue our learning and engage in meaningful programming that recognizes, examines, and values historical legacies of all identities, celebrates its present, engages the diversity of lived experiences within our community, enhances our awareness, and raises visibility for communities across campus and beyond. Through community spotlights, guest speakers, panels, conversations, and research presentations, we foster an inclusive community at UHart. 

Hispanic Heritage Month Graphic

September 15-October 15

Hispanic Heritage Month first began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. It was expanded to cover a 30- day period by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and is now officially September 15 to October 15. Mid-September was chosen because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period.

LGBTQ+ History Month Graphic


LGBT History Month was created in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher in Missouri. In 1995, a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the National Education Association included LGBT History Month within a list of commemorative months. October was selected to coincide with National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), which was already established, and the anniversary of the first march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights in 1979.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Graphic


The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. 

Native American Heritage Month Graphic


The United States observes Native American Heritage Month in November each year to recognize the achievements and contributions of Native Americans. In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating Nov. 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

Transgender Awareness Week Graphic

November 13-19

Transgender Awareness Week is a week when transgender people and their allies take action to bring attention to the community by educating the public about who transgender people are, sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was founded by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor her memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began an important memorial that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

MLK Day graphic


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January each year. Dr. King is remembered as an important historical figure in the Civil Rights Movement which protested racial discrimination. The King Holiday was signed into law in 1983 and for the first time in 2000 was officially observed in all 50 states. 

The University of Hartford celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy through an annual observance of the holiday once students, staff, and faculty have returned to campus after winter break.


Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), conceived and announced “Negro History Week” in 1925, with the goals of promoting the study of African American history as a discipline and celebrating the accomplishments of African Americans. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976 the celebration was expanded to a month and was renamed “Black History Month.”


Women’s History Month commemorates and raises awareness of the historical and contemporary contributions of women. The celebration’s roots can be traced to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. Women’s History Week was first held during the week of March 8, 1978, in Sonoma County, California. The celebration evolved into a week that was celebrated nationally after U.S. President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. Congress passed a law in 1987 which designated the month of March 1987 as Women’s History Month. Since 1988, U.S. presidents have issued proclamations designating March as Women’s History Month. Today’s Women’s History Month is celebrated internationally.

Pacific Heritage Month Graphic


In June 1977, Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage week. The following month, Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Spark Matsunaga from Hawaii introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both were passed and on October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress to extend the week-long celebration to a month-long celebration. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.” - Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS)


By Congressional resolution and Presidential proclamation in 2006, Jewish American Heritage Month is commemorated in May and is a national month of recognition of the history of Jewish contributions to American culture, acknowledging the diverse achievement of the Jewish community in the U.S.

Juneteenth Graphic


Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is celebrated on June 19th each year and marks the day in 1865 that enslaved Black people in Texas learned of their freedom–two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

DEI Program Highlights

Previous UHart DEIJ Programs

  • Rogow Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Program: March 31, 2022: Building Resilience and Connection
  • 2022 Women's History Month programming
  • UHart Celebrates APIDA Heritage Month
  • Ellsworth Lecture by Hayley Foster BSBA ‘94 on Passion+Creativity=Success
  • Humanities Lecture Series: Ines Rivera Prosdocimi, Assistant Professor of English, presented a lecture entitled "On and Off the Island: The Modern-Day, Time-Traveling, Transnational Maroon" in which she explored the formation of perceived "truths" regarding the national identities of Haiti and the Dominican Republic
  • 2019 Rogow Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Program: Zachary R. Wood, author of Uncensored: My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America, discussed why it is important to listen to people you disagree with
  • Some Jazz, Some Blues, Some Soul Food: Hartt alumnus Haneef Nelson spoke on the history of jazz
  • Avinoam Patt, Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and Humanities Center Faculty Fellow, discussed confronting holocaust denial in the 21st century
  • A conversation with Michael Eric Dyson: Michael Eric Dyson is a Georgetown University sociology professor, New York Times contributing opinion writer, contributing editor of The New Republic and ESPN’s The Undefeated, and author of 19 books. He has won many prestigious honors, including an American Book Award and two NAACP Image Awards
  • Ending the division- teaching strategies for becoming instruments of change: University of Hartford professors from diverse backgrounds and disciplines discussed how to best address the polarization and divisiveness that appears to be so pervasive in our times
  • Our annual “Keeping the Dream Alive” event to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther Kings featured Angela Y. Davis, who also received an honorary degree. Davis is an icon of black politics and social activism worldwide dating back to the 1960s when Dr. King led many civil rights battles
  • Poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator Nikki Giovanni spoke at the University’s annual Martin Luther King observance and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
  • A series of conversations about the life experiences of diverse students, staff, and community members, titled Diversity Speaks: Belonging and Being Seen, were held to provide understanding that not all life experiences are the same
  • Special presentations and lectures were presented to enhance learning and understanding of diverse populations. Topics included “Everything You Wanted to Know about Native Americans…But Were Afraid to Ask", "Equity and Culturally Relevant Practice in a Montessori Classroom", "An International Human Rights Day Celebration: the Southern Migration and the Transformation of Black Connecticut, 1915-1970", "Black Love//Black Power – The Films of Fitzgerald", and "Juneteenth: Celebrate Freedom"
  • Organizer, political commentator, and independent journalist Rose Clemente, democracy reform activist Karen Hobert Flynn, Senator Douglas McCrory, and Rock the Vote's Michelle Stockwell spoke to UHart students, faculty, and staff as a part of the 2020 Rogow Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Series
  • Our 2020 Fall Community Book Read was facilitated by Cynthia Martin, president and CEO of the Hartford-based National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). The book was White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.
  • Our Spring 2021 Community Book Read was facilitated Joelle Murchison, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Consultant Practitioner. The book was So You Want to Talk About Race?
  • We were honored to welcome Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five as our featured speaker for the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Annual Observance
  • A virtual presentation by distinguished healthcare leaders took place on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The topic of this Rogow Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Series panel was Health Equity and Communities of Color
  • Adrienne Billings-Smith, co-founder of Concerned Parents of Color West Hartford, lawyer, mom, spouse, and athlete, spoke about the intersectionality of human rights, LGBTQIA rights, women’s rights, and race in her virtual conversation entitled, The Whiteness of Human Rights: Queer Women of Color and the Horizon of Humanity.
  • FEM FEST:WSAM Alternative Radio in cooperation with the Campus Activities Team hold the University’s first ever FEM FEST, a night of live performances to raise awareness for women’s rights
  • A concert of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic music performed by Ian Pomerantz of The Hartt School accompanied by Aaron Larget-Caplan. Hartford Seminary President Joel N. Lohr spoke on "The Great Mission of the Hartford Seminary: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Dialogue.” 
  • 34th Annual International Festival: The UHart community had the chance to enjoy cultural performances and dine on wonderful cuisine from different countries around the world
  • Umbrella for peace: On International Women's Day, Women for Change, an on-campus organization concerned with social justice and activism, painted umbrellas to protest sexual and domestic violence
  • Welcome Wednesdays: Welcome Wednesdays is an initiative to start a new campus tradition of visiting common campus spaces and making new acquaintances. On select Wednesdays the Welcome Wednesday mat will be outside a host location, inviting you to come in, meet some people, and stay as little or as long as you like. The events are free and open to all
  • National Girls and Women in Sports Day: Hartford women's basketball celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day with a game versus Stony Brook
  • Spread Respect Hartford Hawks Men’s Basketball Game: The Spread Respect project supports and encourages participation by LGBTQ athletes and the community
  • BSU Fashion Show: The theme of the BSU (Brothers and Sisters United) Fashion Show was “The World in One Night.” The annual Fashion Show is a fundraiser and proceeds go to the Book Fund, a program that assists students in need of textbooks
  • Black History Month movie series: Throughout the month of February, the University of Hartford shows several free movies. Past features have included Green Book, Marshall, Dear White People, and Selma
  • A vigil to remember victims of Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting: students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered on the Harry Jack Gray lawn in front of Harrison Libraries to remember the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on Oct. 27 that resulted in 11 people killed and six injured
  • During February, Black History Month, daily social media posts focused on a UHart moment in Black history
  • Professional development days take place in August and January for faculty and staff on diversity topics
  • Multiple professional development training sessions on unconscious bias and avoiding micro-aggressions throughout the year for faculty, staff, and students who lead and work with other students
  • Six faculty grants presented to faculty to promote teaching innovations in support of DEI in the classroom. The projects will improve classroom climate, increase diversity content in course offerings, and build student intercultural competence skills

Check out videos of past presentations and events on our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion playlist on YouTube.