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]
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, and a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in museum studies. [Read more]
Tony Gass, Ph.D.
Program and Facility Manager
Dr. Thomas Anthony "Tony" Gass is a native of the Washington, D.C. metro area. Dr. Gass came to the Black Cultural Center from Columbus, Ohio, after earning his Ph.D. in History from Ohio State University this past May. A proud alum of two historically Black universities, Dr. Gass received a Bachelor of Science degree in History from Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland, and a Master of Arts degree in History from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. [Read more]
Prior to landing in her position at the Black Cultural Center, Lisa Sultemeier served in key leadership roles in the areas of finance, academics, administration and student affairs at a private college in Jackson, Mississippi. She also served as a committee member for marketing and recruiting. [Read more]
8 a.m.-10 p.m.
8 a.m.-8 p.m.
*Library hours vary slightly
1100 Third St.
West Lafayette, IN 47907