While Juneteenth has been celebrated for generations, many Americans are still unfamiliar with its history and meaning. As a greater number of government entities, organizations and institutions officially observe Juneteenth this year – it became an official Spalding University holiday in 2020 – it’s an opportunity to understand its historical and modern-day significance.

Juneteenth, or June 19, is recognized as the day in 1865 when Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger informed the enslaved African American people of Galveston, Texas, that they were free, effectively ending slavery in the United States.  The Civil War had ended two months earlier, but slave owners in the Confederate territory of Texas had maintained the status quo until Granger’s arrival.

Spalding Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies Dr. Deonte Hollowell said that he would be speaking at a Juneteenth event in his hometown of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on Saturday. At celebratory events like that, he said, it is important to have a historian/storyteller – known in African traditions as a griot – on hand to provide the attendees with the historical context of the occasion.

Spalding Professor Dr. Deonte Hollowell
Spalding School of Liberal Studies Professor Dr. Deonte Hollowell

“It’s a serious celebration,” Hollowell said. “It’s an opportunity to look back and recognize the struggles and achievements of Black people but also a chance to celebrate those accomplishments. Juneteenth should always be about a) educating yourself about those accomplishments, b) celebrating those accomplishments, c) trying to figure how to progress those accomplishments into equality for our people.

“You have to have the celebration and educational moments be a part of it. … (At a Juneteenth celebration), someone can say, ‘OK, what can we do now that we have all of these people here in one space? What can we do to get everyone on the same accord and address some of the issues we have?'”

Hollowell said White people should engage with and celebrate Juneteenth by educating themselves about the history surrounding the holiday and slavery, including acknowledging the role White people played. He said it’s an opportunity for White people to consider how they can support and racial equity, including helping educate or change the mind-sets of White relatives or friends.

Hollowell said that because the U.S. government failed to free all Black enslaved people at the same time in the 1860s, a situation has existed since then in which there has been no universally recognized day to celebrate Black emancipation.

Hollowell said he was unfamiliar with Juneteenth until he was a college student in an African American theatre class at the University of Louisville and participated in a series of Juneteenth plays.

Growing up, his family and community in Western Kentucky recognized the Eighth of August as the primary day to celebrate Black freedom.

He said important dates pertaining to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, are also considered appropriate days to celebrate.

“Even to this day, we find ourselves celebrating at different times,” he said. “That’s fine; I don’t have a problem with us celebrating our freedom (at any time), but it’s a little difficult when it’s not unified.”

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others in 2020 and national demonstrations in support of racial justice last summer led to a rise in prominence for Juneteenth, and President Biden signed a bill Friday, June 18, 2021, making Juneteenth a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

“Especially in this current racial climate, we really need to reflect and celebrate what it means to be Black,” Hollowell said. “And you can celebrate what it means to be Black even if you’re White. (For everyone to celebrate that is) what my hope is for Juneteenth.”

Juneteenth resources
*Juneteenth 2020 programming from PBS, including an episode of the documentary series from Henry Louis Gates, titled, “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross”
*Juneteenth 2021 programming from PBS
*Biden Signs Law Making Juneteenth Federal Holiday, from New York Times

For those interested in books related to race and antiracism, Spalding Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Steven Kniffley suggested these:

*Beyond Ally: The Pursuit of Racial Justice, Paperback, by Dr. Maysa Akbar
*Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice: 15 Stories, Paperback,  edited by Eddie Moore Jr., Marguerite W. Penick-Parks, Ali Michael
*How to Argue With a Racist: What Our Genes Do (and Don’t) Say About Human Difference, Hardcover,
by Adam Rutherford
*White Rage, Paperback, by Carol Anderson
*Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another, Audible Audiobook – Unabridged, by
Matt Taibbi
*White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Paperback,
by Robin DiAngelo
*Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, Audible Audiobook – Unabridged, by Layla F. Saad

Spalding will celebrate graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 during Commencement this week, June 3-5, 2021. In the leadup, Spalding is featuring graduates from a range of academic programs. Today’s featured graduate is Ashleigh Huff, a 2020 graduate with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies. She also works at Spalding as CRM Coordinator in the Information Technology Department.

How do you feel about your accomplishment of completing your degree and graduating?

Completing my college degree was always a dream of mine. It may have taken longer than four years, but I persisted and I finished. As a first-generation college student, I am so proud of this accomplishment. It was important for me to complete my degree so my niece sees that going to college is an option.

What was it like to finish your degree during the pandemic?

Even though I was proud to complete my degree, and I was excited to be finished, it felt anticlimactic to make it all the way to the end and not cross the stage to receive my diploma. I appreciate that Spalding celebrated the Class of 2020 last year virtually, and I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to attend Commencement this year.

SCHOOL OF LIBERAL STUDIES | Creative Writing | Social Sciences | Humanities | Liberal Studies

What is something specifically about your academic program that you liked or that stands out about Spalding’s program/system that may not be the case at another school?

I loved the small class sizes and am grateful for the professors in the Liberal Studies program. I took multiple classes with each of my professors during my major coursework, and was able to get to know them and form relationships with them. They always went above and beyond to help their students.

Describe something you have done or accomplished at Spalding that you are proud of:

I am most proud of maintaining a 4.0 GPA while attending Spalding and working a full-time job. Before coming to Spalding, I didn’t always do the best academically. However, the six-week sessions and support that I received from my professors allowed me to thrive.

What does it mean to you to become a graduate of Spalding University? What do you think you will take with you from your time at Spalding that will serve you well in your career or life?

The interdisciplinary classes I took were beneficial in so many ways. The professors always strived to relate whatever subject matter we were learning about or discussing to other disciplines, and to work and life situations.

What has been your favorite thing about attending Spalding, and why? 

I wouldn’t have been able to complete my degree as quickly as I did without the six-week sessions. Focusing on one or two courses at a time, and having the option to learn in-person and online really worked for my learning style.

What is something personal about your journey to graduating from Spalding that people may not know but that you’d like to share and that you are proud of? 

While I always dreamt of graduating from college, it seemed like a goal that was out of reach. With the support of family and friends, I gained the confidence to pursue and ultimately achieve my goal.

Spalding University’s Black Student Alliance will host a virtual edition of one its signature events on Wednesday and Thursday with the third annual Elmer Lucille Allen Conference on African American Studies.

Allen, a 1953 graduate of Spalding (then called Nazareth College) who became the first Black chemist at Brown-Forman, will also be one of the featured presenters at the conference. Allen, an accomplished artist who specializes in ceramics, will give a presentation about her art at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s conference will be presented virtually via HD Meeting.  Dr. Deonte Hollowell, Spalding Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies and the BSA’s faculty advisor, will help lead the conference, which is free and open to the public. Please register here. The full conference schedule can be found below.

REGISTER | 2021 virtual Elmer Lucille Allen Conference on African American Studies

SPALDING BLACK STUDENT ALLIANCE
*BSA provides supportive space for students
*Faculty Focus Q&A | BSA Advisor Deonte Hollowell

*Follow the BSA on Instagram at @spaldingbsa
*Email blackstudentalliance@spalding.edu for more info

2021 Elmer Lucille Allen Conference on African American Studies

Presented by Spalding University, the Black Student Alliance and the West Louisville Women’s Collaborative

Day 1, Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021

12:30 p.m. – Introduction – Dr. Hollowell & BSA (Program Preview)

12:45 – Statements from the Writing Center and Spalding Equity Groups

1– 2:30 – HIST 383 Student Presentations – Works in Progress

4 – Performance by Alex Betts (Waterworks Dance Company)

4:30–5:30 – AAS 300 Student Presentations – Works in Progress

5:45 – 6:45 – Local Grassroots Organizer’s Forum

Day 2, Thursday Feb. 25

3:30-4 – BSA Day One Overview/Day Two Preview

4:15 – Student Presentations – Internships and Research Assistants

5:30–6 – WLWC Presents A Hip Hop Tribute to Elmer Lucille Allen

6– The Artistic Contributions of Elmer Lucille Allen

Closing Remarks from Spalding President Tori Murden McClure, Dr. Hollowell, Dean of Undergraduate Education Dr. Tomarra Adams, Dean of Students Janelle Rae

 

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Charles Maynard, Associate Professor of undergraduate writing in the School of Liberal Studies (faculty bios here) and Director of the Spalding Writing Center. Professor Maynard is a novelist and writer/creator of role-playing games and card games who is also on the graduate faculty of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Spalding. 

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I like the small class sizes and the opportunity to gravitate to areas where I have strengths, and have people be accepting of that.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

I teach first-year writing, and I run the Writing Center on campus. So my areas of expertise are academic writing and professional writing, and my degrees are in creative writing. So my areas of expertise are all types of writing.

LEARN MORE | Overview of the School of Liberal Studies
OTHER LIBERAL STUDIES FACULTY Q&As | Minda Reves, Chris Kolb, Dorina Parmenter, Deonte Hollowell
LEARN MORE | Overview of the School of Creative and Professional Writing
ESSAY BY PROFESSOR MAYNARD | “Emulate and Play: A Look at Role-Playing Games and Inspiration”

Why is liberal studies a good option for new students to consider as their major? 

Liberal studies acts as a foundational element in the life of a learner and creative person. I think it’s important to have that foundation because it supports all of those other things that are built upon it. Liberal studies is focused on finding connections between the past and future and why the past influences the future, looking at historical context, art, literature, diversity and how things shift and evolve over time. I think it’s important for young people to make those connections so that they can see that things were not always like this. How can I take in all that information and synthesize it to recreate the world so that I can make it a better place? I think this degree prepares them with practical elements like learning to write, synthesize thoughts, make connections and apply it to their passions. I think it’s important to realize passion and what drives students, and the faculty in liberal studies tries to focus on that for their students.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

My wife gave me these glow-in-the-dark stars to put on the wall, and I put them up there. And then I got a desk in my office. I do not know who had the desk before me, but there was a dried banana in the back and it was desiccated and wrinkled, so I put poster gum on the wall and stuck the dried banana to the wall so it would look like the moon with the stars. I made a sign that said organic moon, and then the banana fell behind the cabinet and I couldn’t move it, so the sign is still hanging up and the banana is somewhere in my office.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Working with a student in the Writing Center or classroom and see them have major obstacles and then see them start to figure out ways to problem-solve and overcome those obstacles. Once they overcome those obstacles and have that eureka moment, (you can) watch them start to gain some confidence and then watch that evolve as they move through academia and their college experience and then graduate. I like to see that level of accomplishment, that level of confidence and that they succeeded based off the goals they set for themselves.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

I hope they see that I am able to give them the tools to problem-solve, enhance their creativity, expand their desire to know and understand the world around them and themselves. These are positive tools. And I am doing this with some awareness of my place in the world and the lens I see the world through and myself through, so I am changing around them as well. I hope I am equipping them to be more conscious and aware human beings in their interactions with themselves and the world around them. It’s the little pieces or building blocks that multiple instructors, support units and conversations serve to build, so the student can reflect on it to help reduce conflict.

FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY ARCHIVE | Read all our professor Q&As

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Deonte Hollowell, Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies within the School of Liberal Studies. Dr. Hollowell, who received his PhD in African American Studies from Temple University and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Pan African Studies from the University of Louisville, was instrumental in the creation of a minor in African American Studies at Spalding two years ago, and he is a co-faculty advisor for Spalding’s Black Student Alliance. This past week, he helped organize Spalding’s second annual Elmer Lucille Allen Conference on African American Studies. Hollowell is also on the Board of Directors for 2Not1, an organization that supports fathers and families, as well as The West Louisville Math and Science Project. He works with the Pivot to Peace group, extending resources to victims of violence. Dr. Hollowell also serves as the Lead facilitator for the Rites of Passage Brotherhood, which introduces young boys to conflict resolution tactics and traditional African method of being.  

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I like the fact that at Spalding, we understand that we are still growing and constantly working to better ourselves for the sake of our students.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

My current area of research is in the relationship between African American communities and police.  I also have an interest in the study of the African American experience, post-Great Migrations (early 1900s).

Why is the School of Liberal Studies a good option for new students to consider as their major?

Students who come through the School of Liberal Studies are able to choose a major, minor and/or concentration.  This gives students an opportunity to explore various options and also engineer their own academic experience. Our students are able to utilize disciplines such as African American Studies, Anthropology, English, Fine Arts, History and Religious Studies to not only develop a greater understanding of the world, but to facilitate change where it’s needed.

RELATED | Q&A WITH DR. HOLLOWELL ON THE SPRING 2019 FACULTY COLLOQUIUM

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

The brief backstory is that when Dr. Merle Bachman retired, I asked to move into her office in the Liberal Studies department in the Mansion Complex because it was larger than the one I was in and she also had one of those standing desks. (I thought the desk might be included if I got the office.)  I got the office – without the desk. But I love it. I keep a space heater in there year-round because I am very cold-natured. I also have a mini-fridge, lots of snacks and a library that will soon be available for students to check out books.

LEARN MORE | SCHOOL OF LIBERAL STUDIES PROGRAMS
LEARN MORE | SCHOOL OF LIBERAL STUDIES FACULTY BIOS

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most fulfillment that I get from being a professor at Spalding is the opportunity to work with individuals (students, faculty and staff) who value the work that I do in African American Studies and are willing to help advance it.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

My role as Co-Faculty Advisor for the Black Student Alliance is my way of paying it forward, or giving back, so to speak.  Also, being in the School of Liberal Studies is great because the Department values community service.

FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY ARCHIVE | MEET OTHER SPALDING PROFESSORS

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Chris Kolb, Associate Professor of Anthropology in the School of Liberal Studies. (Read his bio on the liberal studies faculty page.) He holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Kentucky, a master’s from George Washington University and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Kolb is also a member of the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?
I like the students and the small class size because it allows me to build relationships with students. We have a diverse campus and student body, which challenges professors to communicate with many different types of people. I really enjoy it.

What is your academic specialty or area of expertise or research?
I am a cultural anthropologist, and we do everything under the sun, but my specialty is urban anthropology focusing on drug use, race, policing, homelessness and how cities function. I did my field research from 2005-07 in Cincinnati not long after the riots there. Unfortunately, for society these issues are prevalent and people hear about them more easily now, which makes it an interesting time to be studying these issues.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s School of Liberal Studies
MORE FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY | Check out all our past faculty interviews

Why is liberal studies a good option for students to consider as their major?
There are many different reasons.  I will start with the money-making aspect, which is that employers are realizing no matter what their business is, they need people who can communicate well and write well. Beyond that, it’s a great foundation for many paths such as, advocacy, the nonprofit sector, graduate studies, business and law.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?
There is a drawing with colored pencils from a guy in Cincinnati who was well-known and struggled with homelessness and mental illness. He was a gifted artist, and he sold me this for $5-10, and if you look at it, I think it’s actually George Washington.  I think it’s a brilliant piece of art work done on a piece of cardboard.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I think getting to do something that really interests you. Of course there are aspects that aren’t as entertaining as others such as paperwork and administrative pieces, but there are rewarding factors. I have a lot of independence and get to experiment within the classroom. I really enjoy finding ways to reach students and get them to take an interest and ownership in the material.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?
I think the topics we discuss in class open my students’ eyes to ideas they have probably heard about but didn’t know a lot about. We go into much further detail about prominent Civil Rights figures such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King and how our superficial view of these individuals is actually much more complicated than we think. I hope I am helping my students become more curious about the world and not rely on the news media to create the world for them.

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Dorina Miller Parmenter, Associate Professor of Religious Studies in the School of Liberal Studies. Dr. Parmenter teaches a variety of religious studies courses and has also served as director of Spalding’s Study Abroad in Ireland program. Dr. Parmenter earned her PhD in Religion from Syracuse University. She also holds two master’s degrees in religion from Syracuse, a Master of Arts in Fine Arts from Ball State University and a bachelor’s degree from Central College in Pella, Iowa. (Check out her bio on the School of Liberal Studies’ faculty page.)

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I like being at a school that values compassion and social justice and recognizes that learning about both of those goals requires broad-based knowledge about history, society and human creativity. I appreciate that the faculty and staff here are always striving to share with Spalding students the best of what they have to offer in order to instill in students the values of the school.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

While I teach a broad range of Religious Studies courses, my research falls in a field called “material religion,” and I try to bring that into all of my classes somehow. It involves looking at how religion is created through and reflected in material objects and embodied practices rather than through abstract ideas. More specifically, my research field is the materiality of the Christian Bible, or how the Bible is a ritual object and material image rather than just a text to be read. My most recent publications have been on miniature Bibles and on the American Evangelical movement called “Bring Your Bible to School Day.” I am currently working on a project on digital Bibles.

Why is the program/department in which you teach a good option for new students to consider as their major?

Surveys of employers consistently indicate that they are looking for employees who are self-motivated and who can think critically and creatively, communicate well, and make ethical judgments. The School of Liberal Studies at Spalding offers several interdisciplinary majors that emphasize the importance of broad-based knowledge, independent thinking and the skills required to address complex social problems. Our majors do not provide specific job training but do allow graduates to enter or advance within the workforce with a social conscience and with the ability to come up with creative solutions to and expressions about whatever might come their way.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

Five years after I graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa, when I had just finished a master’s degree in art and was starting a graduate program in religion, I was featured along with some of my college classmates in an issue of our alumni magazine. The cover of one of the books I made in art school engulfs the cover of the publication, with the headline, “Artists Give Credit to the Liberal Arts.” I have that magazine cover framed in my office. Now, several decades later, I am trying to impart that love for the Liberal Arts to Spalding students.

LEARN MORE | PROGRAMS IN THE SCHOOL OF LIBERAL STUDIES
PAST FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY PROFESSORS | MINDA REVES, JEREMY WHITE

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love to see students taking the issues that we are discussing in class and relating them to other classes or their lives outside of the classroom. It is like watching the students build a sculpture out of their knowledge and experiences.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

I think that studying religion in a college atmosphere where questioning is encouraged and diversity is valued is one of the best ways for students to grow as individuals and as members of local and global communities. This growth helps to break down boundaries and allows for greater respect for and collaboration with others so that oppressive systems can be challenged and the most life-affirming aspects of shared human existence can be utilized to bring about change.

Faculty Focus Friday is a new Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. The first faculty member we’ll meet is Assistant Professor Minda Reves, who is in her first year as Director of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program within the School of Liberal Studies. Reves, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California-Riverside, is a successful freelance writer outside of her teaching duties. She’s had articles in essays published by the Oxford American, Longreads, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Dropbox and elsewhere. She is an active member of Louisville’s literary scene serving on the Young Author’s Greenhouse board and leading community-based writing workshops for Sarabande’s Writing Labs.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I love the students and my colleagues and staff. Everyone is great, and there is a lot of openness, positivity, compassion and willingness to learn about each other amongst everyone on campus.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

I am the director of the undergraduate creative writing program. Personally, I write personal essays, memoir and a lot of article and content writing.

Why is your program a good option for new students to consider as their major? 

A lot of times students who are passionate about creative writing seem to shy away from it because either society or their parents have taught them that there is no money in writing despite the fact that there are millions of people around the world making a living as writers. I feel like college is the place for exploring what you are passionate about, and over the years we have pulled away from that. As the new director of the program, I am putting an emphasis on giving students the freedom and empowering them to find out what fascinates them through creative art. I am also realistic because I know after their time here they have to go into the workforce, and I have a strong understanding of what a writer’s life can look like. Whether you want to write full time, or if you have a day job and need to remain connected to the writing community, I can help these young writers find their path.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s BFA in Creative Writing and Spalding’s School of Liberal Studies 

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

I have a pretty minimalist aesthetic, so I think the most interesting thing about my office is how empty it is. I’m sure I will get more books and things, but I am into design and decor and have a specific aesthetic that will prevail as I spend more time in this office.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Getting to see people grow and light up as they are encountering new thoughts. I also find it rewarding that the same cycle is happening within me. I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

Changing the world starts with changing people, and the first person you can change is yourself. I think when students or peers see you are willing to change it inspires others to grow and change as people. Change is scary, and it’s easier to stay small and closed off. But the more you face your fears and step up, I think that inspires others, and it becomes a chain reaction.

Follow the Spalding BFA in Creative Writing program on Instagram at @spaldingcreativewritingbfa

With Commencement approaching on June 1, Spalding is publishing a series of stories and Q&A’s that highlight students from a range of degree programs who are set to graduate. Next up is Jerre Crenshaw, who is receiving the degree of bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary liberal studies.

After Jerre Crenshaw transferred to Spalding University in 2016, she immediately sought out a organization on campus where she could discuss social issues pertaining to the black community.

When she realized one didn’t exist, she worked to create one herself.

Crenshaw is the leader of the Black Student Alliance that officially formed last fall, and she said helping make it a reality is a proud accomplishment that she’ll take with her when she graduates this weekend.

“I knew Spalding’s mission statement says it is diverse community of learners, so when I came to Spalding, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do,” she said.

Crenshaw said she got approval and encouragement across the board from Spalding faculty and administrators when she sought to create a Black Student Alliance, and she said the organization now has at least 10 active members who take part in programs and events on Spalding’s campus and on other campuses.

Additionally, Crenshaw said she is excited to  be one of the first students ever to graduate from Spalding having earned the new minor in African-American Studies. The creation of the BSA served as the praxis credit for the AAS minor.

“Sometimes in school you don’t hear history that pertains to you when you’re a person of color, so having that opportunity to really learn more about myself culturally as well as other African Diaspora people was really important to me,” she said. “I’ve really been happy with the courses I’ve been able to take. They’ve really widened my horizons and opened up my mind to new possibilities of thinking and viewing the world.”

Crenshaw, an alumna of the Academy of Shawnee, has enjoyed being in the liberal studies program at Spalding, saying all her professors have been “very compassionate and genuine and helpful.”

They’ve supported both her academic career, she said, “and me developing as a decent human being who critically thinks and questions things thoroughly.”

After earning her bachelor’s, Crenshaw plans to attend graduate school, and she would like to pursue a career in population health, providing resources that help eliminate health inequities for people from certain socioeconomic backgrounds.

“With Spalding being the first certified compassionate university,” she said, “I think it showed me the value of systematic compassion and that compassion can be implemented into a system. That was initially a thought that was far away from me, but it’s been contextualized by being here.”

Here’s more from Jerre Crenshaw …

What’s your favorite Spalding memory? 
My first day of class, it was over the summer and burning up hot, and I went to the wrong building and sat there for 20 minutes until I realized, “Maybe I’m in the wrong spot,” and looked up the addresses. But it’s my favorite memory because I ended up in the Mansion, which turned out to be one of my favorite spots on campus. It kind of reminds me of my high school with the wooden fixtures. So I discovered my favorite place.

Which accomplishments are you most proud of from your time at Spalding?
The creation of the BSA, of course. Being able to be senator of liberal studies this year and last year. And I think I’ve really improved as a responsible person and citizen.

What is your favorite spot on campus? The Mansion, as you said earlier?
Yes, the Mansion, right by the piano. Shawnee is an old building, so you can hear the creaks when you walk, and I got used to doing work in that kind of space, and I really missed it. It kind of brought me home away from home (to be in the Mansion).

At Spalding, we like to say that, “Today is a great day to change the world.” For many of our students, Commencement is a world-changing experience. After graduation, how do you plan to change the world, big or small, and who inspires you to be a #spaldingworldchanger?
I want to take my skills into the development of compassion as a system and take it to the outside world. So I’ve been looking at volunteering with the Big Brothers Big Sisters or through the judicial system and with kids who are in foster care. I want to be a part of giving people the space to be an individual, like Spalding has done for me.

My mom inspires. I come from a family of six. I’m the fourth-oldest. There are three girls, three boys. I’ve always seen my mom as a caring, strong person who really cared about being there for other people when they needed help, even if she didn’t know them. She’s one of those people who will stop to help an elderly person cross the road, or she’ll stop and pick up trash off the ground for other people. I always would think, hmm, I want to be mindful like that, even when I have other things going on around me. Having six kids is a lot, and she still stops to think, ‘What if someone steps on this? I better grab that.’

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience at Spalding?
I’m just really satisfied with my experience here, and I think it developed me as a person, and I got to meet a lot of great individuals who really helped me along my journey.

Dr. Deonte Hollowell, Assistant Professor of history and African-American Studies in the School of Liberal Studies, will present the spring 2019 Faculty Colloquium, at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the ELC’s Troutman Lectorium. In a presentation titled, “Policing the Black Experience,” he’ll present his research into the African-American community and police relations, and discuss the creation of a course he’ll teach in Session 6 dealing with these themes. That course is part of the African-American Studies minor in the School of Liberal Studies that Hollowell has developed.

In advance of his presentation, Dr. Hollowell discussed the Faculty Colloquium and his work at Spalding:

Why did you come to Spalding, and what do you like about teaching here?

I love being here, and I stay here because I like the history of the institution and I like the mission. It gives me something structurally that allow to be a pathway. My interests have always been in trying to make life better for people who are underserved, underappreciated in society. Spalding’s mission is linked to that. I came here as an adjunct in 2009 and was just looking for a place to teach courses. There was an opening to teach history here (three years ago), and I got it, and the rest is, as they say, history.

 What are some of your academic specialties and areas of interest in research?

Overall, it’s African-American Studies and Pan-African Studies. African-American Studies is what we teach here at Spalding, that’s also the PhD that I have from Temple University. I also have a master’s and bacherlor’s in Pan-African Studies from the University of Louisville. Temple was the first program to offer a PhD in African-American Studies.

Why did you feel it was important to introduce and develop an African-American Studies (AAS) minor at Spalding?

I think there was a void there in our curriculum just to make sure we study and highlight not just accomplishments but also the struggle of people of African descent and people who identify as African-American in this country. Again, it goes back to the mission that speaks toward having compassion and inclusivenss, diversity. The situation was just right for it. We have the right president. Both (former Liberal Studies Chair) John Wilcox and (current Chair) Pattie Dillon are very interested in African-American Studies, which is why they brought me here in the first place, because of my background. When I came here as an adjunct, I would speak to students who didn’t have too much knowledge about the African-American experience, whether they were African-American or not, so I felt there was an opportunity there to pinpoint more of that history and to have a separate offering of courses. I’ve always been intrigued by the praxis side of African-American Studies, where you go into communities and try to get a better understanding of some of the social issues that are occurring and some of the solutions and trying to be a part of it, whether it’s legislation or cultural practices that highlight solutions to a social problem.

Tell me a little about what you’re planning at the Faculty Colloquium.

It’s titled, “Policing the Black Experience.” It’s influenced by when I was a grad student at Temple. I went there to look specifically at hip-hop music and its effects on the African-American community. That’s what I promised to do my research on when I got there. (After working with an advisor who was skeptical that it could be the basis of the research and project), she asked for me to come up with another topic and something that I was passionate about, something that affected me personally. She said to reach back in my childhood and try to find something involving the African-American struggle that was personal to me. I started thinking about how I was arrested when I was 10 under the guise that I was stealing from a store, which I wasn’t. I was beaten up at that time by a police officer who arrested me in public in a grocery store, and this time type of thing happened to me or people I know throughout my life. I started to write about it. …. My PhD advisor wanted the project to be Afrocentric, so I had to get a handle on what Afrocentricity means, not only academically but socially. So I came up with the topic for my dissertation. It was called, Control and Resistance: An Afrocentric Analysis of the Historic and Current Relationship between African American Communities and Police.  … Upon my being hired at Spalding, Pattie Dillon and I talked about my dissertation and how we could possibly make that into a class, how we could take the work I was doing in African-American Studies and make that into a minor. … Since I’ve been here at Spalding full-time, I’ve visited six cities, so I’m kind of breaking that down into a case study where these types of issues have occurred and have interesting stories. There are seven cities – six I’ve been to, one I haven’t so far. Louisville; Greensboro, North Carolina; Sacramento, California; Oakland, California; Ferguson, Missouri; and Cleveland, Ohio. And Chicago, which I haven’t been to. All of those cities, with the exception of Cleveland, I’ve made connections with Black Lives Matter organizers. I’ve been to several different protests. I’ve been a fly on the wall, so to speak. I’m just trying to get a sense of what are some solutions people are trying to take into account, what are some of the reasons people feel these things are happening. Most importantly for me, what’s the culture of the city that allows this to take place? A case in point, in Ferguson, we were looking at the housing politics. St. Louis was starting to grow so rapidly that they had to find placement for other people, so the local housing entities started to establish public housing in the area that’s now known as Ferguson. That area is very densely populated by African-Americans, but African-Americans did not have political power. They do now. They’ve achieved a lot more political balance there. But the housing situation shaped the whole Ferguson dynamic. I’m looking at stuff like that.

What are some other things you’ve been involved with at Spalding?

As part of the Intro to African-American Studies class, we established the Elmer Lucille Allen Conference on African-American  Studies. She was an early African-American graduate at Spalding. She’s a very dynamic personality. She’s been a big part of us establishing the Black Student Alliance. All these things are kind of coming into fruition with the coursework and the curriculum.