Chris Blakely '06 M.B.A., Ph.D.
Major: Business Admin./Sport Business
Job Title: Minority Retention Coordinator
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Current Job Title: Minority Retention Coordinator - Morehead State University
Member of Men's basketball, FCA and Black Student Union
I actively work to foster a diverse and inclusive environment to improve the retention and graduation rates of underrepresented minority students. I manage diversity retention initiatives, programs and services that provide assistance and support underrepresented minority students expanding opportunities for student engagement, leadership and scholarship.
Best Part of My Job
The best part of my current job is the student interaction I have on a daily basis. I have the opportunity to meet with and work with students regularly an effort to support their academic and personal dreams and graduate college.
Choosing Mount Union
When exploring options for college I knew that I want to take some time away from my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, but stay relatively close to family as my mother was experiencing declining health. The institution’s small class sizes and familial atmosphere allowed me to feel at home even away from home. Additionally, the opportunity to play collegiate athletics was an added bonus as well as receiving academic scholarships.
From the Classroom to the Real-World
Through undergraduate studies concentrated in Business Administration and Sport Management coupled with my work experience while on campus through student leadership, I was given the opportunity and collectively to evaluate and adjudicate strategies for competitive advantage. Through my studies I developed critical thinking skills and ability to communicate effectively with all individuals within an organization providing theoretical advances and practical implementation. Dr. Jim Thoma, by far would have to be my favorite professor. Dr. Thoma was one who was very authentic and genuine. His knowledge base in the field was phenomenal and he pushed you in a way that it would get the most out of you.
During my last semester at Mount Union, I actually held an internship with YMCA Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. I was able to obtain this internship working with the Center for Global Education. As an intern with YMCA Victoria, I was afforded the opportunity to lay the framework and foundation for a new Volunteer Development Project. I coordinated the Volunteer Development project and implemented the strategies for the corporate events of the Excel Fun Run Marathon, YMCA Gymnastics Program Development. I was also charged with the creation of a Volunteer Development Manual. As I completed my last semester of undergraduate studies with a semester abroad in Melbourne, I had the opportunity to learn, live and interact with individuals from the global community. During this time, I had the pleasure of interning with the YMCA Victoria’s State Office. Through this internship I develop communication skills needed in the professional environment, assisting in the managing, coordinating, and developing of events. The YMCA Victoria internship afforded me the opportunity to further develop communication skills need in the professional environment.
As I sought to devote the necessary time to my studies I also became very active in student organizations such as the Black Student Union (BSU), of which I was the president for two terms, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Jumbe – a black male think tank. Additionally, I served as housing liaison with University Housing for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes home. As a regular participant in Jumbe, I contributed quite superbly as a think tank discussion leader on various topics and contributor of thoughtful, intelligent, and honest commentary. As president of the BSU, I implemented a new protocol in the BSU, which had, in my estimation, helped students with establishing and maintaining their identity on Mount’s campus. feel as a testament of one’s self-awareness, I would myself or I would assign one to bring something of black cultural significance to share with others during a recognized moment in the meeting. I believe this was invaluable in shaping the mindsets of young black people in learning more about their culture as African descendants and combating the adverse atmosphere in which they are engrossed in their environments, one which does not affirm their identity or celebrate it as being of much importance. Being BSU president improved my interpersonal and communication skills. I became accustomed to working with different individuals to achieve the same common goal. I had the opportunity to manage a substantial budget, supervise an executive board, and oversee program development. Furthermore, I was involved in recruitment of new members and the improvement of the campus and community relationship.
Liberal Arts Successes
The opportunities I have to work with students from diverse backgrounds pursuing higher education and assist in motivating, empowering and aiding in their development as students has been grounded in my liberal arts experience. Being well-rounded as a student has laid the foundation and my development as a student affairs professional.
Preparation for the Future
My educational experience at Mount Union provided me the adequate took kit to obtain a position that allows me to help positively contribute to the community and prepare students for their work in society. Ultimately, my career goals consist of being able to develop educational programs; conduct higher education research; assist in the development of strategic planning and build collaborations with faculty, staff, other higher education associations, institutions, and related groups to enhance successful job and career placement of students. My experience prepared me to give back that which I received at Mount Union.
The institution’s small class sizes and familial atmosphere allowed me to feel at home even away from home.
- What's your favorite book?
- "The Dream Keeper and Other Poems" - Langston Hughes
- If you could have lunch with anyone, who would you choose and why?
- I would love to have lunch with President Barack Obama. President Obama is the quintessential academic and professional. His cool demeanor in the face of adversity is to be commendable and emulated.
- What is your favorite quote/motto?
- "Without struggle there is no progress" - Fredrick Douglass
- What's the #1 song you could play on repeat?
- "Lake by the Ocean" - Maxwell
- What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
- Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.