WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Midwestern State University has been a staple in the Wichita Falls community for a century, but there’s one time in its 100 year history, that can’t be overlooked.

“For the first half of the hundred years that MSU was in existence, it was a segregated institution. Which of course meant that local African Americans could not attend this university which was certainly heartbreaking and challenging, and required them to pursue an education elsewhere. Folks had to go very far away,” Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Cammie Dean said.

In 1950 a Black woman Willie Faye Battle applied for admission to the school and was denied. She applied the following year, and again: denial.

“So I can imagine being frustrated, being angry but most of all just being hurt and demeaned to be denied the opportunity to pursue an education right here at a great institution in their hometown,” Dean said.

Thanks to the historic Supreme Court Case, Brown V. Board of Education, in 1954, students of color could come to campus, a feat that Dean said was well overdue. Now nearly 70 years later, Dean said students from all around the globe call MSU home.

“When you include our 10% international population along with our black population, our Hispanic population just about half of our students are students of color,” Dean said.

These days, Dean and the rest of the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center team are busy fostering a community on campus that’s welcoming to all. There’s events like Caribfest throughout the year.

“For MOSAIC, celebrating who we are and also learning to share that with the folks we work with is really critical.”

Using Black History Month to reflect on where MSU once was, the great spot it’s in today, and how much better the future can be.

“It builds people up and gives them the opportunity to be inspired to do even more, and that’s the reason that we celebrate Black History,” Dean said.

You can click here to find out ways to get involved with MOSAIC.

Mark your calendars for Sunday, February 26, a Black History Month special honoring the east side community will air on KFDX 3 News at 10.