Black Leaders Honored for Influence on Lake County

Article excerpt

Byline: Madhu Krishnamurthy Daily Herald Staff Writer

Lake County residents Eleanor Murkey and Audrey Nixon have more than one thing in common.

As youngsters, both women aspired to become nurses. Later, they developed an interest in politics. And now they have been named the two most influential African Americans of Lake County.

The awards were presented Saturday by The People's Voice, a multicultural newspaper in Waukegan. Twenty-eight other individuals in the areas of arts and entertainment, business and civic leadership also were recognized.

Both Nixon and Murkey have dedicated their lives to promoting education.

Murkey, of Waukegan, is dean at lakeshore campus of the College of Lake County. She began working at the college when it was a one- room enterprise where students were taught general education, English as a Second Language and vocational training for typing and clerical skills.

"We started by surveying people and offering classes," said Murkey, who has been with the college for 25 years.

One class led to another, and eventually they developed into a range of associate degree programs and adult education classes. Today, there is also a comprehensive student services center at the college, which provides academic counseling for students, Murkey said.

Murkey said working to pass a referendum that helped create the College of Lake County is one of her biggest accomplishments.

Her key achievement is "making the college alive to the people in this community and getting people to see the College of Lake County as a first choice" in education, she said. …