The Women in Higher Eduction making a difference in Black lives
                                            Black Women in Higher Education making a difference in Black lives



 by Eleana Élan

Defender Contributing Writer

The Association of Black Women in Higher Education (ABWHE) got it right when they selected the program for its 2015 National Conference of the Association of Black Women in Higher Education which kicks off in Chicago Wednesday October 14, 2015. The theme title of the conference says it all, “Excellence to Eminence: The Transformative Power of Black Women in the Academy.” The Conference goes from October 14  through the 16, 2015, at the University of Illinois Student Center, 750S. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60607.

The ABWHE 2015 Conference in Chicago
                                 The ABWHE 2015 Conference in Chicago

The ABWHE selected a full line up of A+ speakers and workshops. Hopefully your schedule will permit you to join them for the Presidential reception Wednesday evening at Gallery Guichard where you will have the opportunity to meet dynamic women from around the country who will be Chicago to share research and discuss issues surrounding, “Excellence to Eminence: The Transformative Power of Black Women in the Academy.”  

Chicago President Cynthia D. Armster says, “These dynamic women have made a difference in the world and will be sharing with the conference participants what they’ve accomplished, are currently working on   and continue to contribute. We have an exciting  program planned for you and can assure  that  the women you will hear from throughout the three days are phenomenal.”

The conference will open on Thursday, October 14th with a welcome from UIC Chancellor Amiridis, immediately followed by our opening speaker, Dr. Carol Adams, (immediate past CEO of DuSable Museum and former Secretary of Human Services – IL) will be introduced by Ms. Kai EL’ Zabar, Executive Editor of the historic Chicago Defender.

Dr. Dolores Cross, (accomplished author, marathoner, ABWHE Advisory Council, and former College President of both Morris Brown College and Chicago State University) is the  luncheon speaker. She will be introduced by Dr. Mona Davenport, Chairperson, Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education. A book signing will follow her luncheon presentation. 
Friday’s breakfast speaker will be Dr. Yvette Cozier (Principal Co-Investigator for the historic 20 yr Black Women’s Health Study) on Friday, October 16th.  Introducing her will be  by Dr. Angela Henderson, Provost of Chicago State University and graduate of UIC’s Nursing doctoral program.
There are so many other powerful women who you will hear from, engage in dialog with and gain much from throughout the conference as they present  workshops like, “The New You,”  “Who in the Hell left the gate open?” Better yet—“Just whose gates are we keeping?” “Transformative Step: Closing the Confidence Gap of Black Women in Leadership”  “Health Factors that Influence African American Students’ Achievement”,“Empowering Women to Lead in a Global Community” and more.

Whether you are a conference participant, a luncheon, or dinner guest you will be wowed by these women. First, you must acquaint yourself with the mission of the organization to fully grasp who, what and why they are.

ABWHE advocates and celebrates the accomplishments of Black women in higher education. It supports and empowers sister scholars, administrators and students through its various resources and networks. As an organization it is a forum for development strategies to improve the quality of education for African-Americans.

The organization will convene around organization business and flow on to meet and greet at its “Sweet Home Chicago,” Presidential Tour,” from 3 PM to 5 PM taking them to the “Opening Presidential Reception,” perfectly scheduled at Gallery Guichard, located in the Historic Bronzeville neighborhood. The reception will take place in the gallery with the beautiful backdrop of the art by Susan Williams and Basil Watson sculptors of immense talent, skill and profound beauty. Their work is distinguishable though both present breathtaking images in bronze and           . Sculpture creates dramatic dimensions to a room and adds to the principles of design, balance and variety making any space aesthetically more interesting. However, during the ABWHE reception it will be the women who will lend the layers of mixed mediums breathing life into form.

Opening remarks will begin with Dr. Valerie Allen, National President of ABWHE, currently the  Director of the African-American Resource Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She  will provide insight into the organization and its goals providing direction and inspiration  for the members who will continue the journey. Dr. Allen will address this moment in history, which she has  described as  truly an exciting time in our history!

“We are at a watershed moment that will define for our people how we will respond to injustice. In 2015, we stood together in protest; reminiscent of the movement in the 1960’s for civil rights. Today, it is not just civil rights but human rights for which we fight for. In 1967, Dr. M.L. King Jr., called for us to be activists, to fight for equality and to eradicate poverty. Our political leaders and our children are calling us today. We must each answer! Do we have the courage and tenacity to stand firmly like a rock in the face of injustice? Are we in a moment or a movement?”

ABWHE is betting on you to take this on as the moment you seize to make it a movement. It’s on the people to assure that Black lives matter. Join the ABWHE  Wednesday evening at Gallery Guichard for an enriching  moment of culture and enlightenment.

Greet the magnificent women that are making a difference in Black lives. 

For more information contact: Michelle Ray (

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