LaVerne Gyant, Ed.D., has been on Northern Illinois University’s campus for more than two decades.
Throughout that time, the former director of the Center for Black Studies has had her hands in many different projects, always working to build up her students. Currently a professor, Gyant teaches for the Department of Counseling and Adult Higher Education.
She’s spearheaded international study trips to Ghana, where students learned about cultural history and performed community service.
She’s personally donated to NIU Foundation scholarships behind the scenes, giving to students who often need the most help to live up to their full potential.
And she’s offered her guidance and wisdom to students. She’s done this both one-on-one at the Center for Black Studies and in her current department, and also for groups such as the Zeta Nu chapter of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and the S.I.S.T.E.R.S. Organization.
No matter what it is, whether donating behind the scenes or face-to-face advising, Gyant always is working for the betterment of students. She is known on campus as someone willing to give support and encouragement.
She’s earned many accolades over the years for her work — including the prestigious Strickland Award from the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, recognition as one of NIU 's 25 distinguished, and the Phi Beta Delta International Faculty Award for facilitating study abroad in Ghana.
Gyant said she doesn’t have a choice but to help. It is in her blood. It’s not just her job, but also her calling.
“It’s my mission to continue the work of women of African descent, activists and educators, my grandmother and mother,” she said. “It’s my responsibility to make sure that the next generation is prepared to continue and build upon the legacy left to them.”