2018 Conference Guest Speakers
Dr. Dafina-Lazarus (D-L) Stewart (PGPs: he, they, or ze) is professor in the School of Education and Co-Coordinator of the Student Affairs in Higher Education programs and affiliated faculty with the Women’s Studies program in the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research at Colorado State University. Over the course of his 17-year faculty career, ze has focused most intently on the history and philosophy of higher education, as well as institutional systems and structures that affect the postsecondary experiences, growth and development, and success of racially minoritized and queer and trans* students. D-L examines these topics through intersectional, critical, and poststructural frameworks that incorporate ableism, religious hegemony, and classism alongside racism, patriarchy, and queer- and trans-antagonism. In addition to over 50 journal publications and book chapters, D-L is an author or editor of three books, most recently, Black Collegians’ Experiences in U.S. Northern Private Colleges: A Narrative History, 1945-1965 (Palgrave, 2017) and is co-editor with Elisa Abes and Susan R. Jones of a forthcoming text, Rethinking College Student Development Theory Using Critical Frameworks (Stylus, 2019).
Kevin Kruger draws on more than 35 years of experience in higher education. Since 2012, he has served as president and CEO for NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Prior to his role as president, Dr. Kruger worked for 18 years as the associate executive director and served as the chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO) for NASPA. He has held a range of student affairs positions at Southern Methodist University and the University of Maryland. As NASPA president, Dr. Kruger represents student affairs at a variety of national forums and is a frequent contributor to higher education news stories on the college student experience. Dr. Kruger has published and presented nationally on trends in higher education, student success, degree-completion strategies for low-income/first generation students, technology, and change management and leadership in higher education. He is the proud father of two children, one a college sophomore and the other a junior in high school.
Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers Jr is the former President of Voorhees College. Prior to Voorhees, Dr. Sellers served as director of the African American Studies program at the University of South Carolina, where he provided leadership and guidance to students and scholars on an array of topics including: American History, African-American History and History of the Civil Rights Movement
Dr. Sellers first became interested in the civil rights movement following the murder of Emmitt Till in 1955. He helped students organize their first protest during the 1960’s at a Denmark, SC lunch counter in support of the Woolworth’s Sit-Ins in Greensboro, North Carolina. Encouraged by his father, he entered Howard University in 1962, but a year later, he left the confines of the university to travel the south and urge African Americans to stand up for their rights and register to vote. He also worked as an advocate for justice and human rights.
February 8, 1968 is a day that will always hold a special place in his heart. On that day, the tension of segregation and fury of oppression sparked a violent mêlée on the campus of South Carolina State University between protesters and state policemen. When the dust settled from the battle, three young men were dead and 27 others were wounded, one of whom was Dr. Sellers. It was this type of violence that he had worked so hard to prevent. The incident later became known as the “Orangeburg Massacre.”
The police officers involved in the shooting were acquitted. Dr. Sellers was the only person arrested as a result of the Orangeburg Massacre. He spent seven months behind bars on rioting charges. During those seven months, Dr. Sellers made several life-changing decisions; he decided to complete his education and fight for civil rights from the classroom by educating young people. Twenty-five years after his sentence ended, the conviction was pardoned.
Dr. Sellers continued his education by earning a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. He later earned a doctorate in education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. In addition, Dr. Sellers was awarded an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in 2009 from Sewanee: The University of the South, located in Sewanee, Tennessee.
His awards and accolades are numerous – a few highlights include:
- Legacy Award from the United Negro College Fund;
- African American Male Image Award from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., of Columbia, SC;
- Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America;
- Trailblazer Award, USC Chapter of NAACP; and
- Diamond Award, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, USC.