Lincoln College has appointed Dr. Donna Bradley to the position of Provost effective January 3.
Dr. Bradley has served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lincoln College since January 2021, a position that includes oversight of campus technology, academic advisement, institutional research and registrar, disability services, the McKinstry Library, and the Academic Support Center. The position also supervises senior leadership positions and the Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE) program for working adults.
As Provost, Bradley will assume additional leadership responsibilities, serve as Chief Academic Officer of Lincoln College, and act on behalf of the president in his absence.
“Dr. Bradley is well-positioned to step into the Provost position given her phenomenal credentials, strong rapport with Lincoln College students, and display of key leadership qualities as VPAA over the last year,” said David Gerlach, president of Lincoln College. “I look forward to continuing to work alongside her as we return Lincoln College to its roots as Lincoln University.”
During her time as VPAA, Lincoln College received approval from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to offer online programs, implemented new COVID-19 safety measures and processes, and held the first Hooding Ceremony since 1919 honoring master’s degree candidates.
“Without the outstanding work of the directors, faculty, and staff at Lincoln College, I could not accomplish all that I have,” said Bradley. “My faith journey is also an important piece to my work and service to students at Lincoln College.”
Bradley is a licensed attorney with almost 20 years of experience working at a private firm, the Department of Defense, and the National Labor Relations Board. Her previous teaching experience includes graduate and undergraduate courses at Lindenwood University, Webster University, Maryville University, St. Charles Community College, and Columbia College. Prior to fulfilling her role as Vice President of Academic Affairs, Bradley was the Lead Faculty for the Criminal Justice Program at Lincoln College.
As a third generation college student, Bradley achieved the highest levels of academia that began with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brown University, a master’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia College, a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law, and a doctorate degree in public safety and criminal justice from Capella University. Bradley is currently in the dissertation phase for her second doctorate degree in instructional leadership with a higher education focus from Lindenwood University.
Though a long and impressive career history, Dr. Bradley encountered many obstacles leading up to her successes. Bradley was the first African American student to attend St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis, Tennessee. As a young girl in a class of just 42 students, she began her schooling in August 1968, 4 months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. “For many of the wealthy students, the maids, butlers, and gardeners were the only African American people they knew. Many of the girls didn’t want to include me or their parents wouldn’t allow them to invite me over,” recalled Bradley.
St. Mary’s Episcopal School, which increased its minority enrollment significantly since Bradley’s matriculation, now honors a student who demonstrates leadership, courage, conviction, resilience, perseverance, and contributes to the discourse on diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus with the inaugural Donna Osborne Bradley ’74 Award. The award recipient must be a “student who embodied the spirit of diversity, equity, and inclusion and worked to demonstrate these beliefs within the St. Mary’s Episcopal School community.”
“My mantra is to strive for excellence, because mediocrity is not an option,” noted Bradley when asked about her many achievements.
Lincoln College is entering its sixth year in the process of transitioning back to its roots as Lincoln University. The institution continues to offer two-year associate programs, baccalaureate degrees, graduate degree options, and recently announced the addition of online degrees.
Lincoln College also offers its highly successful Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE) program for working adults. The ABE program, offered on four Illinois campuses in Lincoln, Normal, East Peoria, and Oglesby, allows adult learners to earn a bachelor’s degree while attending class one night a week in a concentrated five-week format.
Lincoln College continues to add new degree options each year, along with expanded residential housing options for students. The institution competes competitively in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), with additional athletic program opportunities added in 2020.