Deacon Davis Diversity Award

The Presidential Commission on Race and Ethnicity is proud to announce the Deacon Davis Diversity Award.

Created in 2004, this award recognizes significant contributions made to the improvement of the status of minorities on the NIU campus by current NIU undergraduate, graduate, professional students, faculty, supportive professional staff, civil service, academic units, offices, programs or organizations. 

About Deacon Davis

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 and 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.

Nomination Process

  • Nominators should complete the nomination form about the nominee
  • Nominators will need to solicit and submit one additional letter of support with the nomination form
  • The commission may contact the nominators and nominees for additional information as needed
  • Current commission members are not eligible for the award

Submission Deadline

For more information contact PCORE Secretary, Alex Pitner,
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