University Park, IL,
09:17 AM

Salvador Mendoza to Serve as Keynote Speaker for GSU Alumni Reception

Orbert Davis Also Set to Perform at Nov. 20 event



University Park, Ill. -- In President Cheryl Green’s inaugural celebration of the university’s distinguished alumni on Nov. 20, Governors State University (GSU) will honor those who have made major contributions to their fields, communities and raised awareness.

NBC executive Salvador Mendoza (’97) will deliver the keynote address at the Distinguished Alumni  Reception followed by a performance by Emmy Award winning trumpeter and composer Orbert Davis, co-founder, conductor and artistic director of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic.

Davis, a Kankakee-area native received an honorary degree from the Governors State University in 2014.

Will Davis (no relation) is the GSU Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Marketing and CEO of the GSU Foundation. He said the alumni event will be the first of many engagements planned to help the university reconnect with its 54,000 alumni across the country.

“We are excited to welcome our distinguished alumni – Dr. Orbert Davis and Salvador Mendoza – back to campus to kick off a series of events to celebrate their accomplishments as leaders. These alumni and thousands of others serve as inspiration for our students, tomorrow’s trailblazers,’’ he said.

Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion at NBC Universal, Mendoza is responsible for the development of short and long-term strategies in the areas of workforce, leadership development, community partnerships and NBCUniversal’s Employee Resource Groups. His focus is trained on enhancing the company’s diverse and inclusive environment, as well as building and maintaining partnerships with local, regional and national diverse organizations.

In 1997, Mendoza earned a master’s degree from Governors State University. He spent 15 years with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, and left in 2012 as VP, Global Diversity and Inclusion to join NBC in New York.

On Saturday, Mendoza will discuss his role as a self-described “advocate,’’ and its intersection with his passion for diversity and inclusion sparked as a child growing up on Chicago’s South Side.

Another highlight of the evening will be a salute to six distinguished alumni, emeritus faculty/Retiree Award and one rising star, chosen from more than 100 nominations.

Each college will select a Distinguished Alumni who graduated between 1972 and 2015, and one Rising Star who graduated between 2016 and 2021. The Distinguished Emeritus Faculty/Retiree Award will recognize one GSU emeritus/retiree who continues their extraordinary commitment to their community and the university demonstrated through service and distinction.

Among the finalists for each college are:

Matteson Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin (’93, College of Arts and Sciences); Acting Director of Illinois Emergency Management Agency Alicia Tate-Nadeau, (’91, College of Health and Human Services); Dr. Curtis Crawford (’72, ’74, College of Business). Curtis is President and Chief Executive Officer of XCEO, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in leadership and corporate governance. In the College of Education, award-winning educator and author Dr. Nguyen-Trung Hieu (’76) is one of three finalists.

For Distinguished Emeritus Faculty/Retiree award, Larry McClellan is among the finalists. Dr. McClellan is considered a founder of Governors State and spent decades as a Professor of Sociology and Community Studies. One area of research includes exploring the Underground Railroad in Illinois and the movement of freedom seekers. He has written extensively on the Underground Railroad and the history of the region.

All winners will be announced on Saturday.

Learn more here. 



Zion Banks