Professional Staff

Katherine Kennedy
Ms. Kennedy is an accomplished woman who has worked with the National Football League and the Boston Globe. She received the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service for reporting on the Boston busing crisis of 1974. Ms. Kennedy has been the Director of the Howard Thurman Center since 2000. Before being director, she was at the University of California at Berkeley, where she established a minority journalism program. After leaving UC-Berkeley and working with the NFL, Ms. Kennedy returned to Boston University in 1991 at the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

 Pedro Falci
Associate Director
Pedro (COM ’11, SED ’15) joined the Howard Thurman Center staff in January of 2013 after spending two years in Los Angeles working for a television studio. A former Orientation Student Advisor and FYSOP Coordinator for the CSC, Pedro brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about BU and wishes to continue building community among all students. Originally from Brazil, Pedro is fluent in Portuguese and, naturally, a soccer fanatic.

Head Shot Shari Shari Tumandao
Assistant Director for Arts, Grants and Programs
Shari Tumandao (CAS ‘15) recently received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Public Health from Boston University. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, she thrives on city life and has a strong appreciation for understanding others. Her love for people and passion for personal development brought her back to the HTC, where her college social life began to grow. She remembers the center  being her comfort and safe space during her years at BU and aims to create that atmosphere for every student who visits the HTC.

Head Shot MC Marivic Alvior-Cruz
Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications

Marivic Alvior-Cruz serves as Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications for the Howard Thurman Center of Common Ground. Originally from San Francisco, Mrs. Cruz gained marketing experience in the financial industry working for Wells Fargo before moving to Boston to fulfill other aspects of her life.  Mrs. Cruz has a great appreciation of all cultures and enjoys creating new relationships while nurturing old ones.

IMG_2762 copy Rebecca Arellano
Administrative Assistant

Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Rebecca Arellano is an altruistic soul who values learning, understanding and breaking down barriers. She demonstrates her passion for social justice by advocating for community issues, women’s rights, immigrant rights and she strives to be a good ally for the LGBTQ, disabled and elderly communities. She earned her Bachelors in Psychology from UMass Boston (’12) and her Masters in Urban Affairs from BU’s Metropolitan College (’17). She is a graduate of the Latino Leadership Initiative (’12) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her interests include sports, science, history, travel, non-fiction literature and community organizing.

Karen Karen Brown
Executive Secretary
Karen is a Boston native who grew up in Walpole, Massachusetts and went on to attend Northeastern University, receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science.   Karen loves to travel and really enjoys meeting people from different parts of the world.


Student Ambassadors

The Howard Thurman Center Student Ambassadors are a volunteer outfit whose members assist in the development, planning, and implementation of projects designed to build common ground amongst our diverse student body. Their projects include our Book Club, Tea Club, the Culture Shock Blog, the Culture Council, and Courageous Dialogues. Our Student Ambassadors are a fun and innovative group who reflect a varied array of majors, religions, cultures, and ethnicities.

Office Assistants

The office assistants not only greet each visitor as they enter the Howard Thurman Center, they are also approachable students who are knowledgeable about all the events that happen in the center. They are fun-loving and passionate about working in such a unique place on campus. This nontraditional work environment allows a space for students to study, lounge, and converse about current issues.