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City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees

Charles R. Middleton, Ph.D., Chair
Chuck Middleton is the immediate past President of Roosevelt University, serving from July 2002 through June 2015.  During his tenure, he moved to strengthen the curriculum by strategically expanding and refocusing programs based on Roosevelt's strengths and mission.  He also oversaw the transition of Roosevelt from a primarily commuter school with part-time adult students in the majority to a more traditional-age, full-time residential university.  The number of full-time equivalent students dramatically grew during his tenure.  Prior to his service as president of Roosevelt University, Chair Middleton was a history professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bowling Green State University and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University System of Maryland.  He has been active as a university leader and involved in higher education governance organizations for many decades, including service on the Board of the American Council on Education.  His scholarly accomplishments earned him election to Britain's Royal Historical Society.
 
Gary E. Gardner, Vice Chair
Gary Gardner is a lifelong resident of the South Side of Chicago and the current president and co-founder of PFG, LLC, a Chicago-based private equity firm.  Trustee Gardner is the retired president and co-founder of Namaste Laboratories, the nation's largest minority-owned hair care company and the former president of Soft Sheen Products, Inc. which he expanded into the #1 global ethnic hair care enterprise, earning its recognition from the Black Enterprise magazine as Company of the Year.  Gary has a deep commitment to improving the lives of his community and supports numerous organizations, particularly those that foster education and safety.  Gardner earned his BA with Honors from University of Illinois, Chicago and his JD/MM (Masters of Management) from Northwestern University.
 
Clarisol Duque, Secretary
Clarisol Duque has a wealth of experience in public service and community relations.  She’s led grassroots campaigns for the United Neighborhood Organization of Chicago, a countywide campaign for Friends of Durbin and directed Latino media outreach for Obama for America.  She currently serves as the Chicago Director and Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Richard Durbin.  Trustee Duque is a graduate of the University of Illinois where she received a B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences.
 
Isaac S. Goldman, Trustee
Sandy Goldman is a Principal at Front Barnett Associates, a Chicago-based investment counseling firm.  Sandy is a member of the Board of Governors of the Smart Museum, a former Director of the Arts Club of Chicago, and a former Trustee of the Notebaert Nature Museum.  He was a Director of the United Way/Crusade of Mercy and Director and Vice Chairman of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.  Sandy served on the Finance Committee of the Jewish Federation and the Advisory Board of Catholic Charities.  He is former Chairman of Mayor Daley's Committee for a Clean Chicago, former Commissioner of the Chicago Housing Authority, former Commissioner of the Illinois Medical District and a former member of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority Board.  Trustee Goldman earned his AB and JD degrees at the University of Chicago, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce.
 
Rev. Dr. Darrell Griffin, Trustee
Rev. Darrell Griffin is the Senior Pastor of Oakdale Covenant Church, serving in this capacity for nearly 14 years.  He’s also the senior partner of Urban Ministries Advantage, where he provides coaching and training resources for pastors and church leaders. Trustee Griffin is a published author and spiritual leader; he has spoken at churches, corporations and educational organizations throughout the country. He has a B.A. in marketing from Morehouse College, a Masters of Divinity from the Harvard Divinity School and a Doctorate of Ministry from North Park Theological Seminary.
 
Karen Kent, Trustee
Karen Kent is the current President of UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union. During her tenure with Local 1, Karen helped the union secure significant victories on behalf of working people in Chicago including negotiating the first training fund to assist hotel workers improve their skills, earn promotions, and supply Chicago hoteliers with the finest hospitality workers in America. In the last decade, Local 1 has organized thousands of new workers into the union and doubled wages for housekeepers and other hotel workers in Chicago’s hospitality industry.
 
Marisela Lawson, Trustee
Marisela Lawson is a partner and founder at Sagence Group. Lawson’s experience in management consulting is extensive. Before joining Sagence Group, Lawson served as Director of Business Intelligence for Forsythe Solutions Group working with different functions including sales, marketing, operations, and product groups, to increase sales. Lawson also served a Principal at Diamond Management & Technology Consultants and a senior consultant at Accenture. Lawson earned a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from DePaul University.
 
Melanny Buitron, Student Trustee
Melanny Buitron is native Ecuadorian who was raised on the Northwest side of Chicago.  She has benefited from the City Colleges of Chicago in numerous areas while pursuing her degree.  As a high school student, the Dual Enrollment program provided her with the initial exposure to City Colleges'. As an undocumented student, Buitron also found that the affordable tuition at City Colleges of Chicago was the only fiscally responsible way to obtain her college education. Buitron has been very involved in campus life as the Chairperson for the SGA Student Concerns Committee and as the Vice President of SGA.  Buitron served as the student liaison on AQIP Steering Committee, while offering the student voice in obtaining accreditation for Wright, Student Ambassador for Admissions where she has worked to assist the Student Experience Team in implementing the new online testing and admissions processes.  Her future academic goals are to transfer to a four-year university with a full ride scholarship so she can utilize her strongly developed leadership skills and business acumen in a corporate environment.