Rising Above (Dr. Kendall Deas, Honors Faculty Fellow)

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As a young African American male growing up and attending public schools in Sumter, S.C., Kendall Deas saw firsthand how opportunities for advancement could be limited by race and socioeconomic status.

While Deas’ parents encouraged him to pursue a career in academia, a place where they believed he could best address some of the inequities he saw in his own community, Deas was also drawn to the performing arts. And deciding which way to go became even more difficult for Deas after the U.S. Presidential Scholar in Arts Program recognized him for vocal performance and professional dance.

Ultimately, he says, his parents prevailed: “I turned down music scholarships for vocal performance because I decided that I would have a stronger impact and make a greater difference going into academia.”

After hanging up his dance shoes, Deas went on to earn several academic degrees from institutions such as Georgetown University, Dartmouth College and Washington University in St. Louis. He came to the College of Charleston in 2013 as an adjunct professor in the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance. He also serves as a faculty advising fellow in the Honors College and as a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President.

Read more in The College of Charleston Magazine!

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Update (8/4/17): Dr. Deas is a member of the Diversity Scholars Network at the University of Michigan National Center for Institutional Diversity. He is the featured diversity scholar for the month of August. You can read more about Dr. Deas’ story here and check out his profile here.

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