Interview with Dr. Dawn Elena Pleas

Category: Education

CMG’s Series Featuring some of the top Black Educators in the Midwest that are being inducted into the “Black Educators Hall of Fame” Engaging the World: After earning a doctorate from the #1 ranked Education school, the University of
Pennsylvania, Southwestern promoted to Special Assistant to the President for Community Engagement.
Over the next 15 years, I
 Researched and honored all first “non-white graduates”, starting with Rev. Elijah Pilgrim Geiger, the first
Black male graduate in 1899. Geiger served as pastor for St. Mark United Methodist Church (then called
Fifteenth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church) from 1917 to 1921.
 Grew the college’s reputation as an excellent source of service to a diverse campus constituency,
 Hosted campus field trips for thousands of urban middle and high schools each year to dream about
college. In the 2022-2023 school year, the college will host over 2000 youngsters.
 Facilitated and fundraised summer academic enrichment camps for middle school and high school
students over the last 17 years
 Received local, regional, and national awards
o Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award — W.G. Williams Foundation (Wichita).
o Good Apple Award from Wichita USD 259 school system
o Wichita Business Journal as Women Who Led.
o Carruth Sustained Leadership Award from the University of Pennsylvania
o National Humanitarian of the Year by Church Women United.
o Kansas Black Educators Hall of Fame
 Served three terms on the Alumni Advisory Board University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of
Education and elected Vice-Chair for 2015 and Chair for 2016.
Raising Hope: President Dr. Elizabeth Frombgen recently charged me with a new position, Vice President of
Strategic Projects and Planning. As part of the President’s new bold and dynamic Strategic Plan, I have shifted
into full-time mission and community engagement work to

 Handle a wide range of matters of institutional importance—for both internal and external audiences
 Provide leadership and direction for college-wide project management initiatives such as major capital
project planning and external strategic partnerships.
 Collaborate and coordinate with the President and college leadership regarding strategic planning and
performance measurement.

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