National Institute on Aging

Three African American Women Appointed to University Dean Positions

Brooke Berry was appointed dean of students at Marymount University in Virginia. She will also direct the Office of Inclusion’s efforts to develop campus-wide principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. She joined the university in 2019 as Title IX coordinator.

Berry holds a juris doctorate from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University.

Cassandra Hill has been named the next dean of the Northern Illinois University College of Law. When she takes office on July 1, Hill will be the first African-American woman to lead the law school. Hill currently serves as the associate dean for academic affairs at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. She is the co-author of the book, Legal Analysis: 100 Exercises for Mastery, Practice for Every Law Student (Carolina Academic Press, Second Edition, 2017).

Hill is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she majored in mathematics and Spanish. She earned a juris doctorate at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Stephanie Dance-Barnes will be the next dean of the College of Science and Health at DePaul University in Chicago. She will take office on July 1. Dr. Dance-Barnes currently serves as interim associate provost and dean of the College of Lifelong Learning at Winston Salem State University in North Carolina, where she also is an associate professor of cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Dance-Barnes is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, where she majored in biology. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in biology at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. In 2007, she became the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in the area of cancer biology and toxicology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.


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  1. LaVerne Spurlock says:

    Congratulations to you, Brooke, as you continue your career in higher education. May your accomplishments be outstanding and rewarding for you and the institution.

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