Topeka, Kan. - Dr. Joy Angela DeGruy, an internationally renowned researcher and educator, will share her message of racial healing Wednesday, March 22, at Washburn University. She is the keynote speaker of WUmester, a semester-long initiative at Washburn that is focused on health and healing.

      “Dr. DeGruy’s visit will give us insight as to what we can do as a university and as individuals to create an inclusive community and foster a sense of belonging for everyone,” said Danielle Dempsey-Swopes, director of Washburn University Diversity and Inclusion. “She is masterful at helping communities understand the impact of trauma and how we can each participate in the effort to heal our trauma.”

      DeGruy will give the keynote address Healing Racial Trauma: A Community Conversation on Racial Healing from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union, Washburn Room A/B, on the Washburn campus. The public is invited to join the Washburn community for this free event which is co-sponsored by the Greater Topeka Partnership.

      Earlier in the day, DeGruy will host a faculty workshop from 9 – 11 a.m. in the Kansas Room of Washburn’s Memorial Union. Healing Racial Trauma on Campus: How to Eliminate Racism and Barriers to Higher Education is a workshop focusing on contemporary challenges facing higher education institutions related to racism and racial trauma. She also will offer strategies to confront these challenges.

      From 2 – 4 p.m., DeGruy will facilitate a student workshop in the Kansas Room that addresses racial trauma and how students can be part of the healing in their own communities.

      DeGruy’s research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery. She has more than 30 years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work. Her workshops cover intergenerational and historical trauma, mental health, social justice, improvement strategies and evidence-based model development.

      She has a bachelor’s degree in communication, master’s degrees in social work and clinical psychology as well as a doctorate degree in social work research. For more than two decades, she has served as an assistant professor at Portland State University’s School of Social Work. DeGruy currently serves as president and CEO of Joy DeGruy Publications.

      DeGruy’s visit is one of many events planned for WUmester, a program intended to foster university-wide conversation on a social justice topic each spring semester. The program’s goal is to engage the entire campus community in a cross-disciplinary learning experience on timely subjects. Students are encouraged to see the connections between the subjects they study in the classroom and real-world debates and problems.

      Learn more about all WUmester activities at WUmester 2023 | Washburn University.


    Founded in 1865, Washburn University is a public institution with more than 6,000 students involved in more than 200 academic programs. Washburn’s programs lead to certification, associate, bachelor, master's degree or doctor of nursing practice and juris doctor degrees. The programs are offered through Washburn’s six primary academic units – College of Arts and Sciences, School of Applied Studies, School of Business, School of Nursing, School of Law and Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech).

    All programs are offered on either the 160-acre residential campus in the heart of Topeka, Kan., at Washburn Tech’s campus on Topeka’s west side or in the east Topeka facility. Washburn University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and many of the individual programs have additional accreditations.

    Washburn is ranked best public regional university in Kansas and 14th best public regional university in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report 2022-2023.

For further information, contact:
Lori Hutchinson
Interim Director of Public Relations
Telephone: (785) 670-1711
Cell: (785) 224-6212
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