Created in 2004, the purpose of this award is to recognize current NIU undergraduate, graduate, or professional students; faculty; supportive professional staff or civil service staff; and academic units, offices, programs or organizations for significant contributions made to the improvement of the status of minorities on the NIU campus.
McKinley “Deacon” Davis was born in Freeport, Illinois on August 3, 1932. Davis was an All-Star basketball player throughout high school and college. In 1955, Davis graduated from the University of Iowa and became a member of the Harlem Globetrotters until 1957. While traveling around the country with the team, Davis studied the condition of American high schools. It was in these years, while continuing his education, that his vision developed for what would one day become the CHANCE (College Help & Assistance Necessary for College Education) Program.
In 1968, NIU President Rhoten Smith hired Davis as the Director of Special Programs and founder of the CHANCE Program. Davis stayed in that role until 1978 when he became the Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at NIU. Since 1968, the CHANCE Program has been a door of opportunity for many minority students to both enter and graduate from NIU. Deacon Davis helped to improve the status of minorities on the NIU campus. Davis passed away on March 20, 2003.
The Presidential Commission on the Status Minorities is the oldest commission in existence on the NIU campus. The PCSM, being the first of its kind at NIU, served as an example and led the way in the development of other existing Presidential Commissions representing the rich diversity of NIU. The PCSM has always advocated for all minorities represented on campus and in the surrounding community and region. The Commission’s influence on the work environment, climate, as well as the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff and students continue to be significant as the Commission strives to assist meeting its avowed goals of diversity and equal treatment for all.
A list of previous award recipients can be found on the Commission’s website at www.niu.edu/pcsm.
The nomination deadline has been extended to Wednesday, April 20, 2016. The Deacon Davis Award is a non-monetary award. Awards will be bestowed upon the selected recipients on April 27, 2016.Contact Felicia R. Bohanon, PCSM Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815.753.1868 with questions.