dr DeRionne Pollard – Black History Month honoree

dr DeRionne Pollard, President of Nevada State College, is the first permanent Black woman president of the institution and of each institution within the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Juanita Fain, Ph.D. -Special connection to President Keith E. Whitfield PH.D. UNLV (00:01) dr Pollard’s greatest quality is her authenticity. She’s just a very genuine person and she wants to help make Nevada State College a better place than it is.

dr DeRionne Pollard, President of Nevada State College (00:123) I see myself in communion with my peer institutions because we are anchors of that communion. We are all essential to the health and prosperity of the community.

JF (00:23) And she just has a wonderful relationship with the other presidents because she knows the importance of working together and having partnerships both within the system and outside the community.

DP (00:34) The three Presidents of the institutions here in the South, we meet, we talk, we have lunch, we have a cocktail. We do things that you should do to work together and think about how we solve problems and take your little bit of my little bit and put it together.

JF (00:48) She is passionate about the community and Nevada State College and truly about higher education for the entire state.

DP (00:56) I think we need to be able to hold two thoughts in our brain at the same time. The institution we run is phenomenal and the system we belong to is phenomenal and we can do both at the same time. That doesn’t mean we have to compete with each other. In fact, I believe they thrive, I thrive, and when I thrive, they thrive.

JF (1:17) She’s a first generation college grad and it’s just so inspiring for students to see that and see that she’s a real person, just like me.

DP (1:28) I think I fell into education because it never let go of me. I’m the proud kid of the Chicago Public School System, the first in my family to graduate from college and go on to what we might call a salaried job. But I do know that education has given me a path out of the reality I grew up in and into the reality I’m enjoying right now.

JF (1:49) And I really see her as a role model. And I really think she’s great for Nevada State College and really great for the state of Nevada.

DP (1:59) It’s not about where you are in the middle of a moment or situation, but how you prepare other people to stand up and shine, even when you’re not in the room with them.

JF (2:09) She not only looks after Nevada State College, but Henderson, Las Vegas and the entire state of Nevada. And I think she gets that honor, that recognition is definitely deserved.

DP (2:22) I saw a phrase the other day that said my existence is an answer to prayer. And I know for a fact that I’m here, I’m my ancestors’ wildest dream, that I can sit in this room and do this work is profound. It’s bigger than I ever thought possible. So when I leave this earth I hope to have made a difference and done it in the right way for the right reasons. That’s pretty big for me.