On Saturday, March 1st from 11 am – 2 pm in the Conaton Boardroom on the campus of Xavier University, Ladies with Emphasis on Achievement & Distinction (LEAD) will honor the first two African-American female graduates of the University, Ms. Cleaster Whitehurst-Mims and the late Ms. Alice Campbell. LEAD will also honor an outstanding female student from Xavier at the celebration. Admission is free but reservations must be made by February 25 to 745-3181.
Raised on a peanut farm in Enterprise, Alabama, Cleaster Whitehurst-Mims put herself through school for a bachelor's degree in communication and English from Xavier University and a master's degree in education. She started the Marva Collins Preparatory School of Cincinnati, modeled after the teaching methods and techniques of the famed Chicago educator. Enrollment has been as high as 250. The school provides an education alternative for children others have given up on teaching, said Mims. She also taught three days a week at Xavier. She was honored in 2000 with the Smith Family Foundation “The Secret of Living is Giving” award for her selfless service to youth in the Greater Cincinnati community. In 1990, Mims was one of 19 to receive the nation's highest honor for volunteer service - the President's Service Awards. Sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation and the Corporation for National Service, the Awards are the most prestigious national recognition given for volunteer community service directed at solving the country's critical social problems. Over 3,000 individuals were nominated.
The late Alice Campbell received her master’s degree in education from Xavier in 1969 and was a dedicated long-time teacher at McKinley Elementary in the East End of Cincinnati. She died in 2003 at the age of 65. Her late husband, Robert, also a teacher, was at Hughes High School in Clifton.
In addition to honoring the astounding achievements of Cleaster Whitehurst-Mims and the late Alice Campbell, LEAD will also give an award to a deserving African-American female who embodies the same excellence in service, leadership, and purpose. The nominees’ commitment to LEAD, campus involvement, academic accomplishments, and service endeavors will be taken into account.
“This program illustrates LEAD’s dedication to empowering African–American women through knowledge of our history, knowledge of self, and the commitment to engaging and enriching programming,” said Morgan Miller of LEAD. “It is true that you cannot know where you are going until you know where you have been. Knowing the impact that these women had on our campus will undoubtedly enrich our member’s experience as distinctive leaders of the student body.”