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Challenging Borders, Boundaries, and Barriers

The Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education (ICBCHE) recently took note of the unprecedented number of African American women leading higher education institutions in the State of Illinois. Customarily, white men overwhelmingly represent the face of college/university presidents. 75% of college presidents are men, leaving the remaining 25% divided among men of color, white women, and women of color. Thus, the uniqueness of having SEVEN African American Women in the State of Illinois, FIVE in the Chicagoland area serving as college/university presidents, is a phenomenon most worthy of being recognized.

ICBCHE will host a celebratory Presidents Dessert Reception to fete the SEVEN African American women higher education leaders. The women leaders being feted by ICBCHE are:

  • Peggy F. J. Bradford J.D., Shawnee Community College
  • Jamel Santa Cruze Wright, Eureka College
  • Gloria Gibson, Northeastern Illinois University
  • Kimberly Hollingsworth, Olive-Harvey College
  • Sylvia Jenkins, Moraine Valley Community College
  • Zaldwaynaka Scott J.D., Chicago State University
  • Lynette Stokes, South Suburban Community College

Renowned womanist scholar/activist Dr. Pratt-Clarke states in her book “Journeys of Social Justice” (a collection of stories of former women of color college/university presidents, including Dr. Paula Meares from UIC and Dr. Phyllis Wise from UIUC) states “Diversity, equity, and inclusion have captured the imagination of the academy. Transformation in higher ed allows for diversity in leadership being far more enthusiastically welcomed. Scholar- activists in the academy is about ‘challenging borders, boundaries, and barriers’. We are to engage in transformational work around diversity, involving traditionally underrepresented, and marginalized groups based on their intersecting identities that have been disempowered by society.”

ICBCHE takes seriously their responsibility to support these African American Women College Presidents as they carry out their leadership roles in the academy, and has invited past and currently serving education leaders, legislators, and community stakeholders to participate in celebrating these SEVEN African American college presidents. ICBCHE is also inviting the three African American Men serving as President or Chancellor in the State of Illinois: Chancellor Robert Jones – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, President Jack Thomas – Western Illinois University, and President David Sam – Elgin Community College. Dr. Al Bowman currently serves as the first African American chair of the Illinois Board of Higher

Education. ICBCHE believes recognition of all African Americans serving in higher education leadership in the State of Illinois is definitely historical and most noteworthy.

The goal of the Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education is the enhancement of education and employment opportunities for Black people in Illinois. Through consolidated and coordinated efforts, ICBCHE contributes to the resolution of many of the problems that adversely affect the educational status of this population.

ICBCHE thanks Real Men Cook Charities, Inc. and The Quarry Event Center for their sponsor ship of this Presidents Dessert Reception. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available for those interested in supporting the Presidential Dessert Reception. To join the growing list of event sponsors, contact Kathleen Jackson – Event Developer @: 312-203-7342 or [email protected].

For more information regarding ICBCHE membership, or to become a supporter of the Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education, visit: Dr. Mona Davenport currently serves as ICBCHE Chair and can be reached at: [email protected] 217-581-6690. Event Coordinator is: Cynthia D. Armster and can be reached at: carmster2@gmail.

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