(CHICAGO, IL – 11/19/20) As Chicago State University students nearing graduation prepare to lead in their professions and communities, the institution announces that Chicago’s Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot will serve as the Fall 2020 Commencement speaker. Mayor Lightfoot will address the graduating class on December 17 at 11 a.m. for the university’s first virtual commencement ceremony.

“We are honored to have Mayor Lightfoot speak at this year’s commencement ceremony,” said President Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq. “As the city’s first African American female mayor who has focused her administration work on bringing resources to all of Chicago’s neighborhood’s while also governing during a challenging period, our graduates will benefit tremendously from her insights as a civic leader and a trailblazer.”

About Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot

Mayor Lightfoot has undertaken an ambitious agenda of expanding opportunity and inclusive economic growth across Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities, with early accomplishments including landmark ethics and good governance reforms, worker protection legislation, and closing a then-record $838 million budget gap, as well as key investments in education, public safety and financial stability. Mayor Lightfoot also placed Chicago on the path to a $15 minimum wage by 2021.

In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Lightfoot has led a coordinated, citywide response across government, business, and community organizations to effectively address its spread and broader public impact, including the creation of the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, among other actions. 

Prior to her election, Mayor Lightfoot most recently served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown. Previously, she also served as a civic leader in roles that include President of the Chicago Police Board, as well as the Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force.

A native of Massillon, Ohio, Mayor Lightfoot has been a resident of Chicago since 1986 and lives on the Near Northwest Side with her wife Amy Eshleman and their daughter.

The fall commencement ceremony is not Mayor Lightfoot’s first visit to CSU, having addressed the campus and community members during a forum with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in March 2019, weeks before her election in April 2019.

“Having Mayor Lightfoot as our commencement speaker is an honor,” said Jasmine Moss, CSU Communications major and Fall 2020 graduating senior. “She has had a tremendous impact on the city of Chicago, in particular the Southside where Chicago State is located. As I prepare to graduate during an uncertain time, I look forward to learning from the insight of a leader mapping the city’s path forward.”

About Commencement

Commencement will be held on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 11 a.m. The public is invited to watch the ceremony streamed online at www.csu.edu. Learn more.

About Chicago State University

Chicago State University (CSU), founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus. For more information, visit www.csu.edu.

CHICAGO, IL – Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation are urging Congress support for more funding for minority-serving institutions, including Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs). In a letter written to the Congress of the United States, Illinois officials are asking for additional funding to provide much-needed emergency relief to Illinois students from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods amid the ongoing pandemic. 

“HCF appreciates and supports members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation for their sincere call to action for more funds for minority-serving institutions, especially Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs),” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., president and CEO, Founder of HCF. “As stated in their letter to the Congress, Illinois is home to Chicago State University (CSU), the only U.S. Department of Education designated public four-year PBI. For years, CSU has invested in the African American and Minority population throughout Chicagoland and the U.S., providing educational access to economically low-income students.”

The CARES Act allotted $18 million for the Strengthening PBIs Program, of which CSU was allotted just under $150,000. Amid the pandemic, CSU provided students with housing during the Illinois Stay at Home Order and covered the cost of student devices for online coursework. Through PBIs, Such as CSU, can foster conditions for equity by supporting and educating students, primarily African-American and low-income students, to enhance economic mobility.

“Our organization stands by its founded mission, which is to support every “Black” designated institution that is vigorously in operation, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Predominately Black Institutions (PBIs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs),” said Johnson. “We fully stand behind the members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation and CSU to urgently ask Congress to pass another measure that will give PBIs more access and the assurance that they need to provide the necessary resources and prepare for the uncertainties of the upcoming academic year.”

PBIs, as defined in the Higher Education Act of 1965, has a student population that is comprised of 50 percent of low-income individuals or first-generation students. In addition, the Higher Education Act ensures that PBIs maintain lower expenditure levels to enable the acceptance of high percentages of students within these categories.

Text of the letter to Congress from the Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, can be found here.


About Chicago State University (CSU)
Chicago State University (CSU) is a pubic, comprehensive university that provides access to higher education for students of diverse backgrounds and educational needs. The University fosters the intellectual development and success of its student population through a rigorous, positive, and transformative educational experience. CSU is committed to teaching, research, service and community development including social justice, leadership and entrepreneurship.

About HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF)
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) is a nonprofit advocacy educational organization that is mission to support the significance and raises funds for scholarships, initiative programming, and for private and public HBCUs and MSIs. HCF remains today as a strong advocate for students and higher education. For more information, visit www.hbcucampaignfund.org.

This new partnership allows Olive-Harvey College graduates to go directly into Chicago State University’s bachelor’s degree program in business administration with a focus on supply chain management

CHICAGO, IL – Chicago State University (CSU) and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) announce a partnership to offer guaranteed admission to eligible transfer students from Olive-Harvey College (OHC), creating a clear path to a CSU bachelor’s degree and eventually a career in supply chain management.

Olive-Harvey College students who complete an Associate in Applied Sciences degree in Supply Chain Management and Logistics will see credit hours applied to their bachelor’s degree at Chicago State, allowing them to start the University’s Business Administration program with a concentration in Supply Chain Management as juniors.

“Partnerships with industry leaders and universities have been key as Olive-Harvey College has built a center of excellence in transportation, distribution and logistics, including a new state of the art facility and programs to match,” said Kimberly Hollingsworth, Olive-Harvey College President. “This agreement will take those programs to the next level — offering Olive-Harvey supply chain management students a clear pathway to transfer to a quality, affordable bachelor’s degree, just blocks away, at Chicago State University.”

“Supply Chain management is a vital component in running many businesses today,” said Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq., Chicago State University President. “Strong supply chain systems are critical for rapid delivery and a flawless customer experience that are key to succeeding in a 21st century economy. Businesses across industries are looking to institutions such as Chicago State University for diverse leaders with an accredited bachelor’s degree and experience to lead their organizations. By partnering with Olive-Harvey College, we are expanding access to education for the next generation of supply chain leaders.”

Olive-Harvey College students like Suzzette Anderson are already taking advantage of this agreement, which will see its inaugural group of students start this fall at Chicago State University. Originally at Olive-Harvey College to earn her GED, Suzzette stayed on as a credit student and quickly took advantage of all the college had to offer — like the state-of-the-art Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Center, which includes a high-tech central store warehouse environment, diesel and automotive engine and vehicle laboratories, and simulated driving faculties. As she worked toward her Associate of Applied Science in Supply Chain Management & Logistics, she landed a job at UPS to get hands-on experience in the industry. Eventually, she wants to open her own business, but first she wants to earn her bachelor’s degree at Chicago State University.

“Leadership matters — and I want to thank President Hollingsworth and President Scott for spearheading a transfer partnership that will help create a more diverse supply chain industry and a more inclusive Chicago economy,” said Juan Salgado, City Colleges Chancellor. “I encourage Chicagoans seeking to enter the growing TDL field to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Both institutions have worked to ensure that the partnership provides a seamless transition for OHC graduates like Suzzette, who will dive right into the core curriculum of CSU’s business administration bachelor’s degree program. To quality for this guaranteed admissions agreement, OHC students must earn at least a 2.0 on a 4.0 grading scale for all transferable coursework taken at OHC, and work with the OHC Transfer Center to sign on to the agreement.

To learn more about Chicago State University’s College of Business and its new Supply Chain Management program, visit www.csu.edu. To learn more about City of Colleges of Chicago, including Olive-Harvey College and its Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics degree and certificate programs, visit www.ccc.edu.


CHICAGO, IL – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot named Chicago State University President Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq. to the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force for the City of Chicago. The committee held its first meeting last week virtually, co-chaired by Mayor Lightfoot and Sam Skinner, former White House Chief of Staff.

The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force is comprised of five core committees led by industry experts and government leaders, with recommendations developed out of the Policy & Economic Stimulus Committee, the Mental & Emotional Health Committee, and the Marketing & Business Development Committee. President Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq. joined the Task Force as a member of the Mental & Emotional Health Committee.

“I am honored to join the Task Force,” said President Scott. “COVID-19 is severely impacting the health and economic well-being of Chicago’s black and brown communities. An equitable recovery will not occur without a laser focus on the communities hardest hit. Chicago State University, located on Chicago’s South Side, is Illinois’ only four-year Predominately Black Institution. As President of Chicago State, I and the University are fully committed to the Mayor’s vision.”

The Mental & Emotional Health Committee is focused on ensuring the health and well-being of Chicagoans are supported holistically during COVID-19, as residents experience grief due to the loss of loved ones and stress and anxiety due to unemployment and uncertainty about the future.

There is also a Regional Coordination Committee to ensure alignment across neighboring governing bodies, as well as a Committee titled Change Study that is analyzing the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 on Chicago.

The Task Force will meet weekly for up to eight weeks to create recommendations for a strong recovery from COVID-19 in the City of Chicago. For more information on the COVID-19 Task Force, visit here.


Elliott Charles

CHICAGO, IL – Chicago State University (CSU) President Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq. announced the hiring of Elliott Charles as the University’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Charles has more than 14 years of intercollegiate athletics experience, including leadership positions at Clemson University and Florida A&M University.

Charles will join Chicago State on December 16, 2019. He will succeed Eric Hyman, who served as the Interim Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for the past few months.

“Elliott rose to the top as a candidate in our search for AD,” said Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University. “He understands the intercollegiate athletic program needs of our university and is passionate about his approach to student academic success and excellence.”

Charles comes to Chicago State after two year at Clemson University, a Division 1 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) program, with 256 employees, 19 sports and 500 student athletics. As Associate Director for Compliance Services at Clemson, he is responsible for day-to-day operations of the department with direct oversight of compliance and student services for athletics. He is a faculty members in the Athletic Leadership Program in Clemson’s College of Education.

“I would like to thank President Scott for the opportunity to serve Chicago State University,” said Charles. “I have been a proud member of the Clemson Tiger family and will be forever grateful to have been part of such a rich tradition of student success and service to the community. My family and I are excited to join Cougar Athletics while ushering n our championship era.”

Prior to Clemson University, Charles served as Deputy Director of Athletics at Florida A&M University, Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance at the University of South Florida, Assistant Director of Athletic Compliance at University of Alabama and the Assistant Commissioner for Compliance in the Mid-American Conference.

Charles holds an MBA from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in Sports Management from Illinois State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of South Florida. He and his wife Stormie, are proud parents of two children.


About Chicago State University

Chicago State University (CSU) is a public, comprehensive university that provides access to higher education for students of diverse backgrounds and educational needs. The university fosters the intellectual development and success of its student population through a rigorous, positive, and transformative educational experience. CSU is committed to teaching, research, service and community development including social justice, leadership and entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.csu.edu.

ILLINOIS – Illinois public universities have launched a statewide advocacy campaign that includes call-to-action for alumni and appearances from university presidents around the state to build grassroots community and legislative support for higher education.

The campaign, “The Time is Now: Re-invest in Illinois Higher Education” focuses on the importance of contacting legislators to urge for increased funding for Illinois public universities so the institutions can continue to drive the state’s economic growth and development. An increase in funding for public higher education will create jobs and spur more economic activity statewide, while providing students with much needed improvements to campus buildings, classroom and new technology.

“State funding is very critical to providing the necessary demands and affordability of students in today’s generation of higher education. It is imperative that we continue to fight no matter if its an HBCU institution or not. Illinois legislators must be held accountable for the future of its state institutions including Chicago State University, who HCF highly supports. The effect of funding lowers the effect of resources needed for the economic success of students, and preparing them for the future workforce,” said Demetrius Johnson, Jr., President and CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund.

During the FY 16-17 Illinois budget crisis, funding for higher education throughout the state of Illinois was significantly reduced by hundreds of millions of dollars forcing universities to defer maintenance and realign resources to ensure continued student success. Since that time, the state has seen an outmitigation of college students attending universities out of state due to the uncertainty of state support.

“The HBCU Campaign Fund will join Chicago State University and other Illinois state universities in the fight to increase funding by asking Illinois state legislators to invest in higher education,” Demetrius continued.

The Illinois General Assembly is set to conclude its work Friday, May 31. Each University has submitted a proposal detailing capital and operational needs and has requested a funding increase.

The time is now, you can join HCF and Illinois public universities by contacting the Illinois state legislation and asking them to invest in higher education. Click here for more information.

Belinda and Karea Berry, a grandmother who graduated college alongside the granddaughter she raised.
Credit: Courtesy GradImages

CHICAGO, IL – This graduation season, a grandmother and granddaughter graduated together from Chicago State University on December 14.

According to ABC 7 Chicago, Grandmother Belinda Berry, who is 62 years old, and granddaughter Karea Berry, who is 25 years old, waited nervously in the Raucous Jones Convention Center for their names to be called.

“It was never planned, we both enrolled in school, and we didn’t know we were going to finish together because I was full-time and she was part-time, and it just worked out that way,” said Karea.

Belinda was top of her class, creating some friendly competition for her granddaughter while earning her bachelors degree in business.

“I have always stressed that education is power,” said Belinda, who went back to school part-time to improve her employment prospects.

“She graduated with a 3.8 GPA and health issues during her last two semesters and so for her to come out on top even more than me is amazing, so she is my inspiration,” said Karea, who graduated with a bachelors degree in criminal justice.

Karea will start in CSU’s Masters in Mental Health Counseling Program in 2018. Belinda is also pursuing a masters in business.

“I am very honored to be a role model, and I hope that I am an inspiration to the young as well as the old, because it is never too late to pursue an education,” Belinda said.

As a predominately black institution, Chicago State University is a public, comprehensive university that provides access to higher education for students of diverse backgrounds and educational needs on the south side of Chicago. CSU celebrates 150 years of serving academic excellence as well as its sesquicentennial.

It was CSU 361st graduation ceremony, but it is the first time a grandmother and granddaughter have graduated together.

“Diversity is valuable not just for the sake of diversity, but for what it engenders for each of the students,” said Rachel Lindsey, interim president of Chicago State University.

For more information about Chicago State University, please visit www.csu.edu.

CHICAGO, IL – Cordell Reed, an executive with ComEd and a longtime mechanical engineer, died on December 4, 2017, at the age of 79 after a long illness, said his wife of 27-years Bernice Reed according to Chicago State University.

Born on March 26, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois Reed grew up in a south side housing project and moved on to a remarkable career in Chicago’s corporate and civic communities.

He earned a Bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1960; Reed became the third African-American with that degree from UIUC. He went to work for Illinois electric Commonwealth Edison (ComEd). He worked his way up through the ranks and became an executive in 1975, acting as the public spokesman for nuclear power as well as a department manager. Reed was promoted to senior vice president, serving in three separate departments. In 1994, he became ComEd’s ethics officer and the chief diversity officer in addition to maintaining responsibility for purchasing materials for the corporation’s ten fossil-fired energy-generating plants. Reed represented ComEd in a 1995 trade mission to South Africa before retiring in 1997.

A big supporter of higher education the Student Union Building at Chicago State University was renamed after Reed in 2001.

The Student Union Building at Chicago State University was renamed after the late Cordell Reed in 2001.

In 1988 the Black Engineer of the Year Awards honored Reed with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and later on, in 1993 the American Nuclear Society recognized him with a Tommy Thompson Award.

He has also been active in corporate America, serving on the board of directors for LaSalle Bank, the Walgreen Company, Underwriters Laboratories and Washington Group International. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi, the National Technical Association and the Urban Financial Service Association as well as a fellow of the American Nuclear Society.

Reed leaves behind his wife Bernice and five adult children: Derrick, Brian, Steven, Michael, and Barry.

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor Bruce Rauner announced on Wednesday, November 10 the 2016 outstanding college  students who will be honored by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. The academy will recognize these students during the annual Student Laureate Convocation at 11 a.m.  Saturday, November 12 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

Darren Martin, 37, senior at Chicago State University.

Darren Martin, 37, senior at Chicago State University is among the 57 students who will be honored. Martin, who is also president of the student government association is a 2015 inductee into the HBCU Campaign Fund’s HBCU Royalty Dictionary.

“President Lincoln’s legacy is a reminder of the power of public service and civic engagement here in Illinois and across the country,” said Governor Rauner. “The students chosen to receive this honor have exemplified the principles and ideals of the greatest Illinoisan through their hard work and dedication to their schools and communities.”

The Lincoln Academy’s Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Awards are presented for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities to seniors from each of the state’s four-year, degree granting colleges and universities, and one from the community colleges in Illinois. At the Student Laureate Convention, each student will receive a Student Laureate Medallion, along with a $1,000 educational grant and a certificate of achievement. This is the 42nd year Lincoln Academy has celebrated students’ excellence in Illinois.

Student Laureate Rachel Hile-Broad of the University of Chicago will speak on behalf of all the Laureates. The invocation will be delivered by Eureka College President Jamel Santa Cruze Wright. The Sangamon Woodwind Consort will provide music, and a luncheon at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel will follow the Student Laureate Convocation.

The Lincoln Academy, unique among the 50 states, was established more than 50 years ago to honor distinguished citizens with the state’s highest award, the Order of Lincoln. The 53rd Annual Convocation and Investiture of Laureates of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois will take place Saturday, May 6, 2017 at the Chicago History Museum.

Join HCF in congratulating Mr. Martin of this prestigious and outstanding achievement. You can read more about him and his feature in the 2015 HBCU Royalty Dictionary.


School Student Home Town
Augustana College Christopher S. Saladin Carthage, MO
Aurora University Laura E. Dierking Aurora, IL
Benedictine University Brandon Nguyen Oswego, IL
Blackburn College Veronica Milligan Taylorville, IL
Bradley University Charles J. Barchett Benton Harbor, MI
Chicago State University Darren David Martin Chicago, IL
Columbia College – Chicago Rasul Freelain Chicago, IL
Concordia University Chicago Connor Lee Wondrasch Rochester, MN
DePaul University Jessica Villagomez Willowbrook, IL
Dominican University Raunel Urquiza Chicago, IL
Eastern Illinois University Michaela Lee Crabtree Ellis Grove, IL
East-West University Raymond E. Davis Chicago, IL
Elmhurst College Marie A. Partyka Wood Dale, IL
Eureka College Grace Alisha Kageha Mahasi Peoria, IL
Governors State University Samantha Allen Park Forest, IL
Greenville College Claire Marie Sattler Barlett, IL
Illinois College Daniel James Bacon Lincoln, IL
Illinois Institute of Technology Maya A. Al-Khouja Chicago, IL
Illinois State University Lauren Ann Koszyk Bloomington, IL
Illinois Wesleyan University Paige Elizabeth Buschman Lemont, IL
Judson University Nicholas R Sebastian Modlin Wheeling, IL
Knox College Joshua William Tvrdy Tucson, AZ
Lake Forest College Medora Kea Sweet St. Paul, MN
Lewis University Alexandria M. Austring Aroma, IL
Lincoln College Kristin N. Werry West Peoria, IL
Loyola University Chicago Sojourney Rallo Northbrook, IL
MacMurray College Jasmine Renae White Jacksonville, IL
McKendree University Acadia Reynolds New Orleans, LA
Millikin University Philip Ganley Decatur, IL
Monmouth College Emma C. Vanderpool Frankfort, IL
National Louis University Nancy Zhu Elk Grove, IL
North Central College Luis Antonio Tello Ramona, CA
North Park University Anais Bakayoko Chicago, IL
Northeastern Illinois University Alicia Ozier Chicago, IL
Northern Illinois University Rebecca Ann Rasmussen Franklin Park, IL
Olivet Nazarene University Kaleb R. Miller Canton, IL
Principia College Annika Bryn Erickson Petaluma, CA
Quincy University Nicholas James Nosbisch Effingham, IL
Robert Morris University Tameka Latasha Mason Peoria, IL
Rockford University Ivy Hood Roscoe, IL
Roosevelt University Alice Beals Somerset, NJ
St. Xavier University Meghan Hill North Aurora, IL
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Al-Qawi Nanavati Mumbai
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Steven Eugene Dew Downs, IL
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chloe Anna Huelsmann Alton, IL
The University of Chicago Rachel Hile-Broad Normal, IL
Trinity Christian College Courtney Brynn Kalous Menomonee Falls, WI
Trinity International University Emylee Lee Thompson South Elgin, IL
University of Illinois Chicago Rafid Rahman Chatham, IL
University of Illinois Springfield Kendra Baber Normal, IL
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Shivaliben Bhargavkumar Patel Urbana, IL
University of St. Francis Jeremy J. Grachan Crest Hill, IL
VanderCook College of Music Alexandro Gonzalez Bolingbrook, IL
Western Illinois University William J. Gradle St. Charles, IL
Wheaton College Christopher J. Lee Indianapolis, IN
Lincoln Land Community College Brandon D. Lewis Springfield, IL

Chicago State University will celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2017. Chicago State University opened doors as a teachers training schools in a leaky railroad freight car in Blue Island, Illinois on September 2, 1867. Today, in contrast, the university is a fully accredited public, urban institution located on 161-picturesque acres in a residential community on the Southside of Chicago. During the founding, CSU enrolled 62 students. The current enrollment is nearly 7,000.

The path from then until now has marked by change. During more than 140 years, CSU has changed its name, focus, governance and location. But with each transition, the university has kept sight of its educational mission and enhanced its services to Chicago and its surrounding communities. From its humble origins, Chicago State University has evolved into an outstanding, nationally acclaimed university that provides a value-added education for all who enter its hallowed halls. Consistently evolving to reflect state-of-the-art tends in higher education, Chicago State University prepares students for success in the twenty-first century.

For more information about Chicago State University, visit their website at www.csu.edu.