Remembering a mentor to students, leaders

Marian Shivers (right) with Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard, recipient of the 2017 NCBAA Dr. Marian C. Shivers Mentor Award. (Photo: Monica Parrish Trent)

To understand the impact that Marian Shivers had on the community college sector, look at the people who have received the National Council on Black American Affairs (NCBAA) award that carries her name.

The list of leaders who have received the annual Dr. Marian C. Shivers Mentor Award — one of the hallmark NCBAA honors that recognizes an individual who exemplifies the spirit to guide and counsel black faculty, staff and administrators — includes prominent national figures such as Charlene Dukes, president of Prince George’s Community College (Maryland); DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College (Maryland); and Helen Benjamin, the former chancellor of Contra Costa Community College District (California).

Shivers was dean of the Leadership Development Institute for African American Midlevel Administrators at NCBAA. She also served on the council’s board. NCBAA is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Shivers passed away April 15 while attending the AACC annual convention, where NCBAA also convened meetings.   

“Dr. Mariam Shivers lit the path that many community college leaders walk today,” said AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus. “Her unwavering commitment to equity and leadership had a profound impact on student success and is a legacy that will live on in the millions of students who are provided access to success at the nation’s community colleges. At AACC and across the country, we are mourning her loss.” 

A leader at many levels

Shivers was involved in education for more than half a century, working first as an elementary school teacher, where she became the first African-American elementary school counselor in the Atlanta public school system. She then served in a variety of positions — instructor, counselor, associate dean and executive dean, as well as assistant superintendent for district development — at California’s Yuba Community College (YCC) Marysville and Woodland Community College (a renamed campus of YCC) from the early 1970s through 2005, when she retired.

Last month, Shivers was honored as the 2019 WCC Foundation Founders Day honoree. (She helped to create what would become the first WCC Foundation account.)

Shivers always valued seeing graduations. “Graduation is so important because it signifies the completion of students accomplishing their goals,” she told the Daily Democrat newspaper in a feature on her receiving the WCC Foundation recognition.

In her retirement, Shivers continued to be involved in the community college sector, serving on the NCBAA board and as dean of its Leadership Development Institute, which she initiated in 2002. Shiver also was an adjunct professor in Morgan State University’s Community College Leadership Doctoral Program and served on AACC’s 21st-Century Initiative Implementation Team. 

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.