Purdue University's Black Cultural Center is a vibrant element of University life, offering a wealth of programs and services for the entire campus community. We bring together the wonderful diversity of the Purdue family by nurturing and presenting the rich heritage of the African American experience through art, history and cultural understanding. The center sponsors outstanding student performing arts ensembles in dance drama, choral music and creative writing. We also house a special collections library, a computer lab, and student organization office and meeting space. Please explore our website to learn more about how you can become engaged and involved with the Purdue Black Cultural Center.
Meet the Staff
Renee A. Thomas currently serves as director of the Purdue University Black Cultural Center. She has 20 years of experience in higher education administration with expertise in program development, student services, community engagement and fundraising. Thomas is committed to promoting a campus climate that ensures the inclusion of diverse students, faculty, and staff in all aspects of the university. During her tenure, Thomas has been known for her ability to nurture, support and mentor students, and she plays an active role in enhancing student success and retention. She is service oriented and encourages global citizenship and academic achievement. [Read more]
Bill Caise, a native of Kentucky, is from a small town just outside of Lexington. Caise did his undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky and received his MFA from the University of Iowa. While at the University of Iowa, Caise appeared in the world premiere productions of Karin Coonrod's "Everything that Rises Must Converge" (an adaptation of Flannery O'Connor short stories), Robert Alexander's "The Last Orbit of Billy Mars" as well as the Hansberry award-winning production of Levy "Lee" Simon's "The Bow Wow Club." Some of Caise's favorite roles have been as Cutler in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom", Boy Willie in "The Piano Lesson", Nick Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as well as Chasuble in "The Importance of Being Earnest". [Read more]
Baraka B. Corley
Program and Facility Manager
Baraka Corley has worked in higher education administration for 15 years and has an extensive background in non-traditional student populations, summer bridge programs, admissions and enrollment management, academic advisement, educational opportunity program administration, outreach, recruitment, retention, and mentoring. He is actively involved in mentoring and consultation for at-risk students in higher educational opportunity programs. [Read more]
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Juanita Crider came to the Black Cultural Center from Muncie, Indiana, where she had lived for 25 years. Crider earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Ball State University and is currently working on her master’s degree in history, with a special focus on college student volunteerism during the 1964 Freedom Summer, also known as the Mississippi Freedom Project. [Read more]
Artist in Residence
James Dekle is a native of Statesboro, Georgia. Dekle came to the Black Cultural Center from Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as Choral Director for the Dekalb Early College Academy and the Atlanta Music Project, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that provides intense music education for underserved youth. James Dekle received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, FL, and a Master of Music Education degree from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. [Read more]
Jamillah R. Gabriel
A California native, Jamillah R. Gabriel holds an Associate in Arts in English from Cerritos College, a Bachelor of Arts in Black Studies and Journalism from California State University Long Beach, Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University, and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. [Read more]
Carla Smith is a native of Gary, Indiana. She received her Associates Degree of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies from Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Indiana. Carla has over ten years of experience working in diverse professional roles such as legal assistance, administrative support, and quality control facilitator and trainer. She is studying Industrial Engineering Technology here at Purdue University. [Read more]
Monday - Thursday
8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
2 p.m. - 9 p.m.
*Library hours vary slightly
1100 Third St.
West Lafayette, IN 47907