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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. 
   
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. 

Deborah H. Telman, Trustee
Deborah Telman is Vice President & General Counsel, Global Centers of Excellence, at Johnson Controls, where she leads global legal strategy, litigation, labor & employment, operations and finance functions for an international company with a presence in more than 150 countries. Earlier in her career, Telman led mergers and acquisitions for Abbott and The Boeing Company; as well as roles leading international negotiations for Abbott and as Partner at the international firm Winston & Strawn.

In 2016, Telman received the Transformative Leadership Award by Inside Counsel and has been recognized as one of the Most Influential Black Lawyers by Savoy Magazine (2015).  She was a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and the recipient of the Alta May Hulett Award (Chicago Bar Association).

In addition to her career as an attorney, Telman is currently involved in a number of civic organizations, including Bright Star Community Outreach TURN Center, a new community outreach center in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood that helps families, and young people in particular, deal with the trauma of violence in their community;  Harriet’s Daughters, a Chicago-founded non-profit focused on professional advancement and economic opportunity for African Americans and Chicago Humanities Festival.  Telman is a former board member of the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the Chicago Bar Association Foundation.

Deborah received her J.D. at Boston University and her B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. Telman lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood with her husband, Nigel, a Partner at Proskauer Rose LLP and twin sons, Nigel, II and Nicholas.

Alexa Cruz, Student Trustee
Biographical information coming soon.