Justin P. Christian ’95 and Darrianne Howard Christian ’95
For Justin and Darrianne Christian, the Association of African American Students (AAAS) house was an important place on campus for building a sense of community. They have made a philanthropic commitment to rebuild the AAAS house and support programs that enhance diversity and inclusion on campus.
At DePauw, Darrianne joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, while Justin joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. These historically Black Greek letter organizations maintained chapters at DePauw but did not have houses on campus. The AAAS house was and is a necessary and beloved space for such organizations. Founded in 1968 by eight African American students, AAAS supports and promotes students of color as they explore their academic and social identities and educates the campus community on many aspects of African American culture.
The Christians’ gift supports the Campus Plan for Diversity and Inclusion to create an inclusive, welcoming experience for the entire campus community. Goals seek to build The DePauw Trust to meet the financial needs of promising, admitted students; strengthen First-Year Seminar and Sophomore Institute; provide social spaces to foster student community engagement and cross-organizational programming; increase alumni engagement; and provide professional development for faculty and staff.
“We cherish our time at DePauw and value our liberal arts education,” Justin says. “We also highly value the culture and appreciate that DePauw recruits students from all walks of life and different parts of the country,” the native New Yorker adds. “Those different backgrounds and histories, along with the size of the University, create an inclusive atmosphere that enhances learning.”
Organizations such as AAAS are important to the college experience, Justin says. “In the classrooms, you learn your craft, but these student groups instill confidence, teach you to build relationships and work together toward a common goal. They provide invaluable preparation for the future.
“We are still connected today with classmates and friends and with professors we learned from years ago. We hope the AAAS house will inspire similar relationships, contribute to the cohesiveness and sense of community at DePauw, and help create a common sense of belonging for even more of DePauw’s students. When they return to the house years from now, they’ll remember not only the fun times, but also how they worked together as a unifying force on DePauw’s campus.”
Justin and Darrianne earned degrees in computer science. He is a DePauw Trustee and leads BCforward, one of the Midwest’s largest information technology consulting firms. She has an MBA from Notre Dame and is on hiatus from a successful career to focus on their four daughters. She serves on the Park Tudor Parent Council and the boards of the Central Indiana Community Foundation and Indianapolis Museum of Art. She is also an active member of the graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Jack and Jill of America.
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