CHANCE founder honored

By Deanna Cabinian

NIU’s CHANCE program will be rededicated in honor of its founder, McKinley “Deacon” Davis, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Holmes Student Center’s Carl Sandburg Auditorium. A reception at the student center’s Regency Room will follow the ceremony.

Regina Curry, a CHANCE program counselor, said after Davis died last March, NIU President John Peters announced the program would be renamed as a memorial to him.

Davis graduated from the University of Iowa in 1955. In 1968, he was hired by NIU as the director of Special Programs and founder of the CHANCE program. He was director of the program until he became the executive director of intercollegiate athletics at NIU in 1978.

CHANCE is an alternative admissions program, Curry said. According to the program’s Web site, the CHANCE program is for students who show a strong motivation and potential for success in college, but do not meet one or more of the requirements for admission to NIU.

The Rev. Leroy Mitchell, director of the CHANCE program, and Peters will speak at the ceremony, said Ellen Andersen, director of Special Events. Illinois Senate President Emil Jones will give the keynote address. People who worked with Davis, Davis’ family and people who have graduated from the program also will speak, she said.

In addition to rededicating the CHANCE program, freshmen students who earned a 2.5 grade point average or higher last semester will be honored through the Student Achievement Awards Program, Andersen said.

A senior CHANCE student will give a speech to the freshmen who are receiving awards, Curry said.

The program accepts about 500 freshmen per year, Curry said. The program receives far more applications than they are able to accommodate, she added.