L. Joy Gates Black

L. Joy Gates Black

L. Joy Gates Black, president of Delaware County Community College, received the Athena Leadership Award last week from the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

The award cited Gates Black for her professional excellence and community service and for helping residents, especially women, to attain professional excellence and leadership skills. Gates Black is the first woman and the first African American to head Delaware County Community College.

The award was bestowed upon Gates Black during a virtual luncheon, due to COVID-19 safety restrictions. The keynote speaker was Leslie Richards, general manager of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Richards complimented Gates Black on leading the college during an unprecedented time when COVID-19 has threatened the safety and economic well-being of students and residents and during a period of national turbulence and soul-searching on issues of race, equity and community policing.

Richards especially recognized Gates Black for establishing the college’s first Center for Equity and Social Justice, which is hosting the college’s new Dialogues for Diversity series of virtual community discussions on equity and social justice.

She also lauded Gates Black for volunteering to lead the Pennsylvania delegation of the Reskilling and Recovery Network, a national initiative led by the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Governors Association and higher education and training leaders from 20 states, to help retrain workers impacted by COVID-19.

“It is impressive how she has demonstrated true leadership in this time,” Richards said of Gates Black, who is an AACC board member.

In a question-and-answer session at the end of the luncheon, Gates Black said, “I’m able to be here today, but it’s because of the great work of the faculty and staff at the college.”

The Athena Leadership Award is presented by chambers of commerce, women’s organizations and universities to a woman or man who demonstrates the qualities embodied in the Athena Leadership Model and who has achieved the highest level of professional excellence; contributes time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community; and actively assists others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential.

Almost 8,000 leaders have been recognized with the award in 500-plus regions representing 48 states and 11 countries, including the United States, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, China, Canada, Greece, India, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Ghana and Mexico.

By honoring exceptional leaders, the Athena Leadership Award Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

Athena International is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a global pipeline of women leaders “from the classroom to the boardroom,” particularly in underrepresented areas such as technology and business.

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