September 21, 2023

Higher education summit focusing on diversity, equity is Oct. 19-20

A two-day Illinois Higher Education Equity Symposium in Collinsville, Illinois, in October will focus on understanding the challenges that underrepresented groups in higher education face and implementing strategies for change.

With the theme “Reclaiming Our Stories: Reimaging Student Success,” the symposium is set for Oct. 19-20 at the Gateway Convention Center, One Gateway Drive. Sponsored by the Southern Illinois University System, the symposium will feature legal experts, education scholars and legislators who will share their knowledge and experiences for promoting equity within higher education.

This is the SIU System’s second higher education summit. Organizers note that “one of the goals of equity at SIU and in higher education is to eliminate disparities in educational outcomes among diverse groups of students. This includes reducing the institutional achievement gap, increasing access to higher education by providing financial aid and support services, and creating a welcoming environment for underrepresented students. It is important to continue to address inequities in higher education to ensure that all students have access to a quality education.”

The keynote speaker is the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., a cousin and last living eyewitness to the August 1955 kidnapping of 14-year-old Emmitt Till, who was later murdered.

Other speakers include:

  • Dan Mahony, SIU System president.
  • James T. Minor, chancellor, SIU Edwardsville.
  • Edward L. Mienie, executive director and professor of strategic and security studies in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of North Georgia.
  • Janice Jackson, chief executive officer, HOPE Chicago.
  • Michele L. Howard, chief program officer, HOPE Chicago.
  • Illinois State Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana.
  • Claudia Mercado, senior director of college and university partnerships at the Partnership for College Completion, Chicago.

Additional details on the symposium and online registration is available. For more information, contact Events and Outreach at 618-536-7751 or email Diane McIntyre at