Dr. Curtis L. Ivery recipient of this year’s Diverse Champions Award


The Diverse Champions Award recognizes higher education leaders who have shown unwavering commitment
to equal opportunity and access for all, particularly at the community college level.

Dr. Curtis L. Ivery, Chancellor of the Wayne County Community College District, has been a national thought leader, educator, columnist, author, scholar, equity advocate and force for change in Southeast Michigan for more than two decades.

Under his leadership, WCCCD, the largest urban community college district in the state has been transformed into a thriving, six-campus inclusively pluralistic District that serves more than 70,000 students annually.

Ivery has assembled academic, community, business and government leaders at the table across a series of roundtables and conferences to develop strategies to expand educational equity and economic mobility in our region, and throughout the nation.

Prior to becoming the CEO of WCCCD, he served in executive positions at community colleges in Texas and Arkansas.  As well, he served as the Commissioner/CEO of human services in the cabinet of Bill Clinton when he was the governor of Arkansas. 

He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the prestigious Trumpet Award for Education in 2016, and the Leadership Excellence Award for Diversity and Inclusion from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. Ivery was named a Michiganian of the Year by The Detroit News in 2005, for his significant contributions both locally and statewide. He was named the “2008 Newsmaker of the Year” by the Michigan Chronicle, which also honored Dr. Ivery as its “Man of Excellence,” in the same year.

More about the Diverse
Champions Award


With regret and an abundance of caution related to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Diverse/NISOD reception at the AACC National Convention has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

The award was created by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education in 2012 upon the retirement of the inaugural Diverse Champions Award winner, Dr. John E. Roueche, as director of the Community College Leadership Program (CCLP) at the University of Texas at Austin. Of the more than 500 CCLP graduates produced during his 40-plus year tenure at CCLP, more than 60 percent are women and people of color.

The Diverse Champions Award is given to individuals who have made similarly extraordinary contributions to the world of higher education.

The April 2, 2020, edition of Diverse will contain a tribute to Dr. Curtis L. Ivery. Please join us and many other institutions, organizations, and colleagues in this recognition of his career achievements by
placing a congratulatory/celebratory message.

Past Recipients


  • 2019: Dr. Ken Atwater, President, Hillsborough Community College
  • 2018: Co-recipients: Dr. Suanne Davis Roueche (posthumously) and Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail, founder of the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program at Morgan State University (MD)
  • 2017: Dr. Kay McClenney, Senior Adviser to the President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges
  • 2016: Dr. Terry O’Banion, Former President of the League for Innovation in the Community College
  • 2015: Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, President of Miami Dade College
  • 2014: Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, Former President of Cuyahoga Community College
  • 2013: Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, President and CEO of American Association of Community Colleges
  • 2012: Dr. John E. Roueche, Former Director of the Community College Leadership Program at The University of Texas at Austin