Denison Admission Officer “Braids” Her Leadership
Nancy Gibson, Senior Associate Director of the Admission Office, and Director of Multi-Ethnic Admission at Denison was featured in an anthology on Black women’s leadership. Gibson authored an autobiographical chapter entitled: Braiding My Place: Developing a Foundational Selfhood through Cross-Racial Mothering in Black Womanist Leadership: Tracing the Motherline, written by Denison Black Studies professor, Toni King (King and Ferguson, eds., SUNY 2011).
Nancy—a graduate of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio—received her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, prior to coming to Denison in 1997. She has been recruiting for Denison and coordinating our campus-wide multicultural recruitment efforts for 19 years. Here she has also served on the Black Studies Committee, and Co-Chaired the Black Caucus among other University Committees and leadership roles. Most recently, she spoke about her leadership experiences, and philosophy in the course: Black Women and Organizational Leadership, Fall 2015 (taught by Toni King). Students read the chapter by Gibson and applied theories about Black womanist thought, biculturalism, and black feminist epistemologies to the chapter Gibson authored. They felt it was invigorating to meet and discuss a course reading with an author on campus whom some had worked with through the Admission Office or met during their recruitment.
The chapters in the book focus on woman-to-woman leadership transmission, and Gibson’s chapter explains how her mother who is white passed on leadership to her as a black girl adopted into a white family. Because of her mother’s (and father’s) vision and insight—Nancy was given opportunities to embrace black culture and develop a well-rounded—black identity despite growing up in predominately white geographic areas such as Nebraska. According to Gibson, her early experiences and Motherline support gave her a “foundational self-hood” which infused her with a confidence and sense of personal agency from her early years to the present. As a leader, she has used her leadership within the field of Admission in higher education for over two decades, during which she has conducted a variety of presentations on diversity and recruiting students of color at the local, regional and national levels. Nancy has also worked as a consultant in the area of multicultural recruitment for various colleges in the Midwest, and has served on the Executive Board of the Ohio Association for College Admissions Counselors for several years.
Below, Denison students in Black Women and Organizational Leadership BLST/WGST 265 pose for a photo with Nancy Gibson, Fall, 2015. The tradition of passing on leadership knowledge from mother to daughter repeated itself when Gibson's daughter (Vanessa Gibson, class of 2017, top far left) visited that day to hear her mother's talk.