By Emily Steinhardt
Dr. L. Joy Gates Black,Delaware County Community College’s new president. Photo courtesy of DCCC
Air Force veteran. Honor student. First in her family to go to college.
These are just a few of the accomplishments Delaware County Community College’s new president, Dr. L. Joy Gates Black, has achieved in her life.
“My parents were prepared to sacrifice to send me to college because it was something they never got the opportunity to do,” she said.
But then Gates Black talked to a friend of hers who was three years older and had gone into the Air Force.
Enlisting in the Air Force peaked her interest, so she researched more information and talked to recruiters. She found out that if she signed on in December of her senior year, she would be eligible for the old G.I. Bill made available to Vietnam veterans to help pay for college.
Gates Black served in the Air Force on active duty for nine years and in the reserves for another two.
“I went into the Air Force for the benefits to pay for college,” she said. “But I also had the opportunity to see the world, travel all over the U.S., and to live in Europe.”
Gates Black said, undoubtedly, the most important skill she learned from her time in the Air Force was leadership.
She said a leader can be anyone, just someone who is willing to serve. The greatest thing a leader can do is value their followers opinions, because sometimes they are the best ideas, she added.
Gates Black now holds a graduate studies certificate and a Master’s Degree in Education from Cambridge College, a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University, and has pursued additional doctoral studies in Human and Organizational Development from Fielding University in Santa Barbara, Calif.
During her time at Cambridge College, Gates Black said she frequently visited Philadelphia and loved the area.
“When the position [at DCCC] was listed, I looked at it and said, ‘Oh, that sounds interesting,’” said Gates Black, explaining how she found her way back North.
“The search firm called me and said ‘Someone nominated you and said, you’d be a good person to talk to about this opportunity.’ And the more I found out about it, it sounded like a great fit for me and it truly has been.”
Being the first female president is not something Gates Black is taking lightly.
She explained: “I’ve gotten lots of letters and congratulatory cards, but one that stood out to me was one from a young lady who said, ‘You have given me hope.’”
Gates Black added it is very humbling, but it serves to remind her that if you’re the first in a role, you have a responsibility. You have a responsibility to others, because you are an inspiration to others, she said.
“Delaware County Community College is just as wonderful a place to work as I thought it would be,” Gates Black said with a smile. “There is so much we are going to be able to do together.”
Contact Emily Steinhardt at firstname.lastname@example.org.