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1964WARD Archives - Community | Union Institute & University

Dr. West

Pay it 1964ward – Union graduates are problem solvers

By | Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Students | No Comments

Union’s Pay it 1964WARD Campaign is underway to make a difference in the lives of our students. At UI&U, 100 percent of funds designated to scholarships go directly to the student. Throughout 2020, we will feature a number of Union donors – alumni, trustees, friends, and others – who support Union and our goals to transform lives and communities. Please join them through Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today.

Below Dr. Charles A. West, Ph.D. 2000, reflects on Union’s unique mission to graduate problem solvers, a skill sorely needed in today’s world. Read more about Dr. West and his career as a catalyst for economic development optimization and his decision to invest in Union students below.

Dr. WestQ. You are paying your degree forward by investing in Union and its students. Why do you choose to invest in Union’s students?
A. My career soared during and after obtaining my Ph.D. from Union. That is one of the reasons I am paying my degree forward. Other reasons include the Union model that offered flexibility so that a working adult with four children could obtain a Ph.D. Not only did my degree enhance my skills but I found myself in a setting that nurtured my skills. I was able to gain experiences I might not have gained elsewhere.

I can’t say enough about the faculty encouraging me to reach heights I didn’t know were possible. I also became close to my classmates and learned so much from them.

Q. What did your degree and your Union experience do for your career?
A. I doubled my consulting fee the day I completed my degree. I am in a very competitive business, the consulting business, and there is no doubt in my mind that having Ph.D. behind my name says to clients I am more qualified. Having the Union stamp and experience put me miles ahead of the competition.

Q. Union is known for its commitment to social justice. Does that aspect of the university influence your decision to invest in Union and its students? If so, how?
A. I saw social justice firsthand at Union. For the most part, absent were gender and racial bias. What impressed me most about Union was the chance to be listened to and to express my opinions freely. I had the chance to hear other viewpoints and I was strengthened because of those viewpoints. I have traveled and worked all over the world and the broad-based education I received from Union prepared me to be successful.

Q. Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. Can you share how this goal may have impacted you and your career?
A. I work in economic and community development in many of the areas that have been devastated by economic and climatic destruction. My training at Union improved my ability to help these communities. I worked for seven years to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina with the Kauffman Foundation and auto suppliers in Detroit after the Great Recession. Today I am working with the DeBruce Foundation expanding pathways to economic growth and opportunity.

Q. What else would you tell prospective donors about why they should give to Union?
A. I would tell prospective donors that investing in Union is an investment in their future by supporting an Institution focused on problem solving . Union develops individuals that are problem solvers. They are committed to improving the quality of life for all. Union graduates bring insight and understanding and a commitment to unorthodox ways so needed in today’s world.

Support the next generation of leaders with your donation.
Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today. Click here to donate.

About Dr. West.

Dr. Charles A. West believes that a more innovative integration of economic development, workforce development and entrepreneurship could profoundly impact individuals and communities across this country. He is ecstatic to be a part of The DeBruce Foundation team that is committed to tackling the same issues that are dear to him.

Dr. West is a catalyst for economic development optimization because of his multifaceted experiences. From the halls of academe, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in accounting; an M.B.A. in finance; and Ph.D. in entrepreneurship. He honed his experiential base in the laboratories of the streets where he managed economic development and workforce development programs. After leaving, Dr. West served as an economic development consultant to federal and state agencies as well as nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Dr. West exposed young minds to entrepreneurship and was challenged to demonstrate the efficacy of his teachings while a college professor. Partially as a result, he spent several years heading a management group that bought, grew and sold franchises. Afterward, Dr. West began the journey of integrating his knowledge and experiences into the most successful training program for entrepreneurs in the country. The program served several thousand individuals and had a sizeable economic impact. Dr. West has authored or co-authored books in each chapter of his life to provide learning experiences for others. These books include 7 Secrets of the Gig Gurus: A Toolkit for the Freelance Gig Economy, LESSONS. (A contemporary African-American novel), How To Understand and Secure a Surety Construction Bond, Tonight You Can Be in Business for Yourself, and Black Enterprise, Inc.: Case Studies of a New Experiment.

Dr. Gladys Hankins

Pay it 1964WARD – Dr. Gladys Hankins believes giving is a principle-driven act

By | Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Students | No Comments

Union’s Pay it 1964WARD campaign is underway to make a difference in the lives of our students. At UI&U, 100 percent of funds designated to scholarships goes directly to the student. Throughout 2020, we will feature a number of Union donors – alumni, trustees, friends, and others – who support Union and our goals to transform lives and communities. Please join them through Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today.

Dr. Gladys HankinsDr. Gladys Gossett Hankins is a Union alumna, Board of Trustee member, author, speaker, diversity expert, and global management consultant. In the Q & A below, she discusses why she invests in Union and explains why she believes in the principle of giving back.

Q: We are launching the Pay it 1964Ward campaign to raise $1,964,000 to support our students achieve their dreams. You are a trustee, an alumna, and have been a long time giver. Can you tell us why you give to Union? Why do you choose to invest in Union’s students?
A: I believe in the principle of giving back. That means giving monetary support to the educational institutions from which I received my degrees. I have done so annually since I received my associate degree from a two-year Catholic college. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rockhurst, a Jesuit university, and my Ph.D. from Union Institute & University in 1994. I was a non-traditional student for each one of my degrees, studying at night while working full-time, which makes me appreciate my alma maters even more.

I am so proud of the truly growth filled education I received at Union when studying for my Ph.D. As a trustee, it is an honor for me to join the commencements where I see the joy on the faces of the graduates, and I am always reminded of my own joyous Union experience and graduation. Union’s Ph.D. program gave me the chance to study, learn, and earn my degree while continuing my full-time job, when other schools in this area required me to be a full-time, non-working student. I feel my donation helps Union directly as it is applied to where it is most needed to benefit students. I would love all Union’s alumni to express their gratitude toward Union with an annual monetary gift.

Q: Union is known for its commitment to social justice. Does that aspect of the university influence your decision to invest in Union and its students? If so, how?
A: I care deeply and share Union’s commitment to address such an important and necessary issue. I have personally been able to use my Ph.D. focus in Organizational Behavior and Development to develop and conduct programs on diversity that have been attended by thousands of people in over 20 countries, with respect to social justice matters, particularly pertaining to organizational effectiveness and diversity and inclusion. I trust my contributions help other students with their goals.

Q: Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. Can you share how this goal may have impacted you?
A: In the work I did at Procter & Gamble, as well as the consulting I continued to do after my retirement, my Ph.D. gave me automatic acceptance as an expert in the areas I have consulted in. I also authored a book on diversity, Diversity Blues: How To Shake ‘Em, that has been made available through the public library system globally. I believe that all Union graduates may have made equally substantial contributions to social justice in significant ways.

Q: What else would you tell prospective donors about why they should give to Union?
A: I would say to alumni, “You have a vested interest in the continuing success of this university. As long as UI&U continues to be accredited and ranked, you will always be able to be proud of the institution from which you graduated. Union is primarily a tuition-driven institution. But having the benefit of large numbers of donors, as well as people who bequeath substantial amounts, guarantees that Union can continue to exist and educate world-changing students.”

Giving is a principle-driven act. If every one of Union’s 20,000 graduates were able to give just $100 per year, that $2 million would ensure that Union will continue to serve students who are attracted to the benefits of our fine university.

Please donate today at this link Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD campaign.

About Dr. Hankins

Dr. Gladys Gossett Hankins is an author, speaker, diversity expert, and global management consultant. She holds a PhD degree in Organizational Behavior and Development. A former corporate executive and adjunct college professor, she is president of Telora Victor, Inc., a management consulting organization specializing in organizational effectiveness and diversity. Her clients have included the Federal Government, major corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations. Gladys has coached top management on the issues associated with managing a diverse workforce. She has done extensive work in diversity and has consulted across the global community, creating and delivering workshops throughout North America, South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Western and Eastern Europe.

A proven leader in designing breakthrough initiatives, her programs have been called life transforming and credited with changing organizational cultures and shaping their diversity initiatives. She has received numerous testimonials on her personal effect and impact on individuals and organizations.

An author, Gladys has four published works including a business book on diversity entitled Diversity Blues, How to Shake ‘Em, a best-seller that deals with racism and sexism in organizations, and what to do about them.

Her fiction works are mystery novels, written under her pen name, GiGi Gossett, and set in Cincinnati. By Any Other Name addresses race, privilege and betrayal, some of life’s most beguiling situations. Her most recent publication, The Midwife Factor is an international mystery in which past secrets are revealed as two girls, separated at birth attempt to find their way back to each other.

She collaborated with Yolanda Webb to write a “tween” mystery entitled A Twisy Girls Mystery: The Case of the Dropped Pearl. Gladys continues to write both fiction and non-fiction. All of her publications can be obtained from Amazon.com and other electronic booksellers. They are also available at public libraries.

She is a life member of the NAACP, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and The Links, Incorporated and has a long history of community service, currently serving on several non-profit boards.

Janet K. Kempf

Pay it 1964ward – My scholarship will help me plant seeds of hope to combat mental illness

By | Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Students | No Comments

The Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964ward campaign is underway and is already making a difference in the lives of our students. At Union, 100 percent of funds that donors designate to scholarships goes directly to the student.

Janet K. Kempf

Janet K. Kempf

In the Q & A below, Janet K. Kempf discusses how her scholarship that provides support as she pursues a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will allow her to provide hope and collaboration toward life-enhancing outcomes for the mentally ill.

Q. How has the scholarship you received impacted your academic career?
A. Receiving the David P. Finks Scholarship was a true honor. Because of the scholarship, I have been able to continue to pursue my Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with less financial burden. This is significant because a main barrier for students pursing higher education degrees is how to pay for the high cost of the training. I was able to decrease my work hours and devote my attention to a full load of class work and my internship.

Q. Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. Can you share how this goal impacts you and your community?
A. Part of the reason I returned to school after 20 years in the mental health profession was to better understand theories and practices in the treatment of individuals living with mental illness. In our community, mental illness affects one out of five people. That means a lot of people are struggling to live a peaceful and satisfying life. With my degree, I can work with such individuals to provide hope and collaborate with them toward life-enhancing outcomes. In turn, these individuals will spread hope and contribute to the community by sharing their talents. Hope then multiplies.

Q. Union is known for its commitment to social justice. How will social justice be interwoven in your career plans?
A. Social justice is not only interwoven, but integral to the practice of counseling. In order to be an effective counselor, I must display empathy and form a therapeutic relationship with the individual. To be empathetic, I must be fully present with the individual and gain an appreciation of their culture and life. Everyone deserves the same treatment regardless of present or past struggles. As a counselor, I am perhaps more aware of the struggles because I sit with individuals who are actively experiencing the pain that comes with mental illness. I have a unique opportunity to share with others the reality of this pain and advocate for their treatment needs.

Q. What are your plans after you earn your degree?
A. After earning this degree, I will be able to assist individuals make life-enhancing outcomes, helping will better society. I also hope to continue my education by earning a Doctorate in Clinical Counseling Education so I will be able to help plant the seed of hope in the lives of the individuals I counsel and also in students who will be the next generation of counselors. Everyone in society has the ability to contribute to social change. I am fortunate that the seed was planted in me years ago; now through my work the number of empowered individuals will grow, positively impacting society.

Support the next generation of leaders with your donation. Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today. Click here to donate.

Rea Waldon

Pay it 1964WARD – Why I give back: My degree changed my life

By | Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Students | No Comments

Union’s Pay it 1964WARD campaign is underway to make a difference in the lives of our students. At UI&U, 100 percent of funds designated to scholarships goes directly to the student. Throughout 2020, we will feature a number of Union donors – alumni, trustees, friends, and others – who support Union and our goals to transform lives and communities. Please join them through Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today.

Rea Waldon“Why wouldn’t I give back to the university that changed my life,” asks Rea Waldon. “I know Union changes lives. I am one of those lives.”

The business woman and two-time alumna earned her B.A. in 1988 and returned to earn a Ph.D. in 2003. She credits Union for propelling her career.

“I didn’t fit the typical college mold, but Union had confidence in me. I was the non-traditional student, a single mother with skills, but companies wouldn’t take a chance on me because I didn’t have a degree.”

Her degrees led her to successful careers in banking, workforce development, and economic development.

“A degree is the ticket to entry for most professional careers. Union’s innovative approach is the right fit for adults with life challenges that don’t allow them to pursue education in a classroom setting. My message is you can work and complete your degree.”

Union was founded on the core principle of expanding access to higher education for non-traditional and underrepresented groups within a context of social responsibility.

“I have been able to leverage my education to provide solutions to businesses and non-profits trying to make the world a better place.”

Dr. Waldon invests in students with her donation to Union. “I am paying my degree forward by supporting individuals and making their dreams come true.”

Donor support is critical to continue to Union’s mission to engage, enlighten, and empower adults to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Pay it 1964ward today. Click here to donate.

About Rea Waldon

Dr. Waldon is the founding executive director of the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council. She served at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati for eight years, first as senior vice president and then as chief operating officer. Prior to joining the Urban League, she was assistant vice president/community development officer for PNC Bank.

She also served Union Institute & University as a faculty advisor and affiliated faculty from 1995-2006 and Cincinnati Executive Director from 2018-2020. Dr. Waldon has been recognized as a Cincinnati Business Courier Mentor of the Year and is the recipient of the Women of Color Foundation’s ISIS Award. She is also one of Fifth Third Bank’s Profiles in Courage recipients. She is a coach and mentor to business owners and students. She is also the owner of KDDK Legacy Group that provides coaching and training to owners seeking to grow their firms.