Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

“Living the Dream” Opens at Manhattanville College
Friday, 31 January 2014 10:39

Mia Alicata '14 and her grandmother Assunta Amicone Alicata.Mia Alicata '14 and her grandmother Assunta Amicone Alicata.
Manhattanville College celebrated the unveiling of the 48-foot rainbow colored “Living the Dream” exhibit Wednesday afternoon in the Berman Students’ Center.

The display features 12 panels, each featuring a current Manhattanville student writing about a grandparent’s dreams and how they impacted each student’s personal dreams for the future.

The idea spawned from the emotional response Managing Director of Communications J.J. Pryor, and First Lady of Manhattanville College Jean Strauss had on the 50th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “I Have a Dream” speech this past August.  Both were brought to tears as they watched President Barack Obama,  the country’s first black president, give a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where King stood 50 years before, pondering  if their own parents would have ever thought such a thing was possible.

This sparked Pryor to create the “Grandmother Project”, focusing on seven undergraduate students at the College. In interviews with their grandmothers each student was to compare their grandmother’s dream to their own, noting the progress across generations.

What was suppose to just be a final project for Pryor’s advanced seminar writing class, turned into something much more when Indiadora Nicholson ’15 , one of the participating students and president of the Black Student Union, saw the Grandmother Project’s potential.

She thought to expand the project to a dozen students, not  to limit the project to just grandmothers but any influential grandparent, and most importantly, to create  a massive exhibit that the entire Manhattanville community could be proud of. The result of Nicholson’s vision became the “Living the Dream” exhibit now on display.

The exhibit shows a wide range of students from different racial and cultural backgrounds displaying the diversity valued at Manhattanville, while showing the major progress made over the past two generations.

“It is great to see the powerful sense of community Manhattanville has”, Nicholson said, “The entire project from its beginning has been a collaboration of proactive students and faculty”.

The exhibit also pays homage to the past with photographs of the Manhattanville students that attended the March on Washington and a photograph of King.

Although the display has been unveiled it is not complete as students, staff and faculty are now invited to add their own personal pictures and stories of generational progress on the cork board adjacent to the wall.

The display was also featured in the Harrison Review prior to the opening. Read that story here.