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Dr. DeRionne Pollard – Black History Month Honoree

Dr. DeRionne Pollard, President of Nevada State Collage, is the first permanent Black woman president of the institution and any institution within the Nevada System of Higher Education.

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

Dr. DeRionne Pollard, President Nevada State College (00:123) I see myself in community with my peer institutions because we’re anchors to this community. All of us are essential to the health and wealth of the community.

JF (00:23) And she has just a wonderful relationship with the other presidents because she knows how important it is to collaborate and to have partnerships both within the system but also out in the community.

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

JF (00:48) She’s passionate about the community and about Nevada State College and really about higher education for the whole state.

DP (00:56) I think we have to be able to hold two thoughts in our brains at the same time. The institution that we lead is a phenomenal one, and the system that we are part of is phenomenal too, and we can do both things at the same time. It doesn’t mean that we have to be in competition with each other. In fact, I believe that they thrive, I thrive, and if I thrive, they thrive.

JF (1:17) She’s a first generation college graduate, and for students to see that and to see she’s a real person, you know, just like me, I just think is just so inspiring.

DP (1:28) I think I fell into education because it never let go of me. I am the proud child of the Chicago Public School Systems, first in my family to complete college and to go on to pursue what we might call a white collar job. But I know that education gave me a pathway out from the reality which I grew up in and to the reality that I enjoy 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 great for the state of Nevada really.

DP (1:59) It’s not where you stand in the midst of a moment or a situation,  its how I think you prepare other people to rise and shine, even when you’re not in the room with them.

JF (2:09) She cares not only about Nevada State College, but about Henderson, Las Vegas, and the entire state of Nevada. And I think her receiving this honor, this recognition is definitely warranted.

DP (2:22) I saw a phrase the other day, it says that my existence is an answer to prayer. And I know for a fact that me being here, I am my ancestors wildest dreams that I get to sit in this space 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 an impact and did it for the right reasons in the right way. That’s pretty huge to me.