Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

2013 Award Citation

Higher Education Program Distinguished Alumnus/a Award

DeRionne P. Pollard, Ph.D.

For outstanding contributions through scholarship and service to the larger higher education profession.

Presented at the
ACPA Annual Convention
Las Vegas, NV
March 5, 2013

We have established an award that recognizes an outstanding graduate of either our master’s or doctoral program in Higher Education.  Our master’s program was founded in the early 1960’s and our Higher Education doctoral program began in 1982. Our graduates serve in higher education throughout the nation and provide outstanding service. This award is presented to one individual who embodies the core values of our program, the School of Education, and the University and whose professional practice opens doors wider for all students to achieve a college degree.

We are delighted to announce that our 2013 Award recognizes the outstanding leadership, educational path, and social justice contributions to the higher education community of a distinguished alum: Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, who completed her Ph.D. (2005) in the Higher Education program at Loyola University Chicago.  Since 2010, Dr. Pollard has served as president of Montgomery College, a three-campus community college in Montgomery County, Maryland.  Her work is inspiring and has spanned the range of higher education administrative positions and faculty life.

DeRionne’s nominators lauded her numerous accomplishments and all  spoke to how she has embodied the core of the School of Education’s mission of social justice, while rapidly advancing her career and outreach to communities in Illinois, California and Maryland.  We are inspired by her journey and happily celebrate this award with DeRionne, her partner Robyn Jones of twenty years and their son Myles Julian Pollard-Jones.

Leadership: Before becoming President of Montgomery College, DeRionne was Administrative and Instructional President of Las Positas College in California where she led a lobby effort to Congress for over $1 million dollars and oversaw a successful campus reaccreditation.  She began her career at the College of Lake County in Illinois where she held increasingly higher roles from assistant professor to tenured professor, to developer and faculty coordinator of the center for excellence in teaching and learning, to assistant Vice President and then to academic Vice President.

Education: DeRionne earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from Iowa State University, and thankfully came to Loyola University Chicago to earn her PhD in Higher Education.  The following excerpt from one of DeRionne’s nominating letters clearly demonstrates the type of educator she is:

“I believe DeRionne embodies the core values of our Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program.  The many faculty and administrative roles she has held are evidence of her leadership.  Her commitment to quality academic programs within the community college mission will ensure that these egalitarian institutions will continue to provide opportunities for a wide variety of students to gain entry into higher education, learn work-related skills and receive training to improve their lives.  As a young African American leader, DeRionne is a role model for many who can follow her career path.  Her activities with the community through the YMCA, Rotary and NICASA can leave no doubt that she believes in social justice."

The faculty of the higher education program are truly grateful for the legacy that DeRionne created in her ground-breaking career and the model of social justice advocate that she is for all students.