A Continuing Legacy

The Martin University Center for Racial Equity and Inclusion is strongly connected to our history and the legacies of our  founders Father Boniface Hardin and Sister Jane Schilling. In 1970, Father Hardin founded the Martin Center as a “biracial and ecumenical effort to overcome the polarization brought about by ignorance, injustice and hostility between blacks and whites in the metropolitan area of  Indianapolis”* Father Hardin served as a consultant for major corporations, school systems, and others on race relations  training while Sister Jane Schilling managed the programs offered to the local community on African American history and culture, race relations, and other topics. As the Martin Center  continued its work, Father Hardin came to recognize that a root cause of many of the racial inequities within Indianapolis stemmed from the lack of good higher education options for African American adults in the community.

To help address these disparities in college attainment, he decided that a university was needed that would focus on serving low-income, minority, and adult students in Indianapolis and surrounding communities.

In 1977, Father Boniface Hardin and Sister Jane Schilling founded Martin Center College to offer opportunities for disenfranchised persons to change their destinies through education. The college became a separate entity from the Martin Center in 1979 and became Martin University in 1989. Since its founding, the University has been recognized as an institution that offers access and opportunities to persons who have been discounted, discouraged, and disregarded in the educational attainment process. Martin University is Indiana’s only Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) of higher education and continues to serve low-income, minority- and adult students.

Center Purpose and Offerings

The purpose of the Martin University Center for Racial Equity and Inclusion is to assist leaders  and organizations in their efforts to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through  education and training, the Center will advance capacity-building strategies and initiatives that  address persistent racial inequities and achieve more inclusion for communities, businesses,  institutions, organizations through our region. Our purpose will be accomplished through the  following service delivery vehicles:


Workshops, lectures, seminars, and other development activities focused on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will engage highly accomplished subject matter experts to help leaders and organizations increase their knowledge and abilities for effectively developing sustainable practices that are measurable and impactful. These  learning and development events will be open to the community or target specific  audiences, and at times, will be planned in partnership with other organizations or  institutions. 


Programs and Initiatives that involve ongoing strategies and engagement for improving  racial equity and inclusion outcomes. Some examples include: 

  • Brother to Brother – An initiative that will focus on helping to empower,  influence, and support success for men of color through education, networking,  mentorship, and coalition building.

  • DEI Leadership Academy – A professional development and certification  program for current and aspiring diversity, equity, and inclusion professionals and  practitioners. 

  • Degrees of Freedom – A program designed to increase educational attainment for  incarcerated individuals and ex-offenders. 

  • Urban Leadership Summit – A coalition-building initiative for civic and  community leaders, providing a workspace for leaders to construct new initiatives  that will help initiate change and engender greater accountability for racial equity. 


Consulting engagements with businesses, higher education institutions, school districts, and other organizations focused on achieving inclusive excellence. Consulting services  may include: 

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic planning support 

  • Equity and Inclusion organizational assessments  

  • Workforce recruitment and retention strategies 

  • Supplier diversity program development and implementation 

  • Professional development for diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders