Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Lessons Learned

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Lessons Learned

Article excerpt

During our interview, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was most animated when talking about the Sue Duncan Children's Center, which has provided tutoring and nurturing to some of the most disadvantaged youth on Chicago's South Side since Duncan's mother founded the center in a church basement 50 years ago. Duncan handed me a copy of a Chicago Tribune profile of Kerrie Holley, chief technology officer for IBM Global Business Services, who was in Chicago for the center's 50th anniversary celebration.

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According to the Tribune, Holley was born on Chicago's South Side into "the stereotypical life of a Black youth--never met my father, grew up poor in a neighborhood with gangs, never lived with my mother, though I knew my mother, I was raised by her mother." Holley was as at-risk as it comes of being either incarcerated or dead by 25, yet the intervention of the Sue Duncan Children's Center helped change the trajectory of his life. Duncan told me proudly that Holley was one of his teachers at the center, and he holds him up as an example of how education can change lives.

Duncan is a conspicuous presence at contemporary civil rights events; he notably gave an impassioned speech at the 45th anniversary commemoration of "Bloody Sunday" last year at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. …

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