FRANKFORT — Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II today announced the establishment of the Atwood Institute for Race, Education and Democratic Ideal (AI). The University’s Board of Regents today approved the Institute’s formation and vision statement, along with a targeted fall launch.

AI, according to documents from the board meeting, will advance research, dialogue and advocacy for anti-racism training and conflict resolution, and exploration of the elements of democracy in solving intractable social problems.

Special research emphasis will be placed on Appalachia, the African Diaspora, and migrant communities.

Rufus B. Atwood

President Brown applauded the board’s action in approving AI, which will be established through seed funding redirected from the Office of the President originally reserved for municipal organization memberships and association fees.

“The board’s action shows a unique commitment to the expansion of Kentucky State’s mission, and its role in building a stronger city, state and nation,” Brown said. “We are proud that KSU will serve as the founding institution for a first-of-its-kind research center stationed on an historically black campus, and that our diverse faculty, student body and surrounding community will lead the nation in this important work.”

Officials say AI will use conferences, published research, academic courses and lecture series to examine constructs of diversity, racial, sexual and gender tolerance, and equity building. A national search was also announced today to identify the director of AI, who will also serve as an associate faculty member.

The Institute is named for former Kentucky State President Rufus B. Atwood, who served for 33 years and helped to cultivate the school as an accredited land-grant institution.