Director, Cross-Cultural Center, UC Irvine

Marcela Ramirez-StapletonDr. Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton is the Director of the Cross-Cultural Center at the University of California, Irvine. She is an experienced student affairs practitioner, higher education researcher, and public servant. Her research and practice focus on the critical role of multicultural affairs in higher education.  Marcela’s work titled “Schoolhouse of Resistance: Critical Counterstories of Grassroots Leaders and Campus Change Agents in California Cultural Centers” investigated the historical roots and creation of cultural centers in California as a result of student, staff, and faculty activism in the 1970s to the present. One of her proudest endeavors was serving as the Founding Director of the Middle Eastern Student Center at the University of California, Riverside; the first cultural center of its kind in the UC System and in California. She is a Past-President of the California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education (CaCCCHE), a network of professionals and practitioners who are committed to social justice, equity, and diversity work on college campuses. Marcela is a University of California (UC) Regent Emerita who served a two-year term (2015-2017). During her doctoral studies she was appointed by the UC Board of Regents to serve as the 42nd UC Student Regent. She was involved in higher education policy and advocacy work at the state and federal level. She was also recognized as a “Woman of Distinction” by Jose Medina, California State Assembly Member and Chair of the Higher Education Committee. She received her Ph.D. at UC Riverside in Higher Education Administration and Policy, her M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis on student development and higher education from California State University, Long Beach, and her B.A in Economics and French from California State University, Fullerton.