Chancellor lauded for “visionary and courageous” leadership by Minnesota Minority Education Partnership

Posted: January 28, 2011

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota Minority Education Partnership has recognized the “visionary and courageous leadership” of James H. McCormick, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, in promoting racial equality and excellence in education.

The chancellor was presented with the 2010 Ron McKinley All My Relations Award for contributing to the advancement of the organization’s mission by Carlos Mariani, the group’s executive director, and Stephanie Crosby, the board chair.

The partnership noted that during the past 10 years, McCormick’s leadership has produced measurable results in enhancing higher education opportunity for individuals from underrepresented communities, which includes students of color, first-generation college students and students from low-income families. Specifically, the partnership cited these achievements:

  • Students of color now constitute 17.6 percent of system enrollment in 2010, up from 10.6 percent in 2001 when the chancellor began his tenure.
  • Between 2001 and 2010, enrollment of students of color increased by 118 percent from 21,634 to 47,268. In the same time period, enrollment by racial-ethnic group was:

    • Up 44 percent for American Indian students from 2,830 to 4,066,
    • Up 96 percent for Asian and Pacific Islander students from 6,203 to 12,166,
    • Up 161 percent for black or African American students from 9,652 to 25,171, and
    • Up 99 percent for Hispanic students from 2,949 to 5,870.
  • Enrollment of students eligible for federal Pell grants, a measure of low-income status, increased by 53 percent to 86,113 from 2001 to 2010. As a percentage of total enrollment, Pell-eligible students increased from 18.1 percent to 31.1 percent.
  • Enrollment of underrepresented students increased by 29 percent or 29,094, from 101,534 in 2005 to 130,628 in 2010. Underrepresented students include students of color, Pell eligible students and students whose parents did not attend college.

The system successfully lobbied the Legislature to provide ongoing funding specifically to enhance higher education success of underrepresented students. To date, this initiative, known as the Access, Opportunity and Success project, has invested more than $44 million.

Also, diversity and multicultural issues are regularly discussed at the highest levels. The Board of Trustees and the Leadership Council, made up of presidents and senior staff, have standing Diversity and Multiculturalism committees. And presidents of the 32 system institutions are evaluated in part on changes in enrollment of underrepresented students.

The Office of the Chancellor developed innovative community outreach programs, such as “Super Weekend,” which gave the chancellor, presidents and other system leaders an opportunity to speak to community members at faith-based institutions and community centers. The Office of the Chancellor also established the “Make College a Part of Your Future” public relations recruitment campaign, which was produced in nine languages and won the Public Relations Society of America’s highest honor, the Silver Anvil.

The award is named for the organization’s founder Ron McKinley. "All My Relations" refers to an expression among the nation's first people that captures the interconnections of all people and all living things, reflecting the importance of collaboration. The Minnesota Minority Education Partnership is a nonprofit collaborative, founded in 1987, that seeks to increase the success of students of color and American Indian students in Minnesota schools, colleges, and universities.