"...Recruit, increase the numbers, but also really work hard and look at the climate and see what can support people of color and other groups, in terms of the climate when they get here, so they can thrive through graduation and through their career..."
Ruby Mendenhall was born in Chicago in the early 1960s. Her childhood was frequently marred by racial tension and unrest, and her high school years were punctuated with race riots. From 1981 to 1986 she attended the University of Illinois in Chicago as an undergraduate student, and also studied public policy at the Harris School. She pursued a storied career as an occupational therapist at the Cook Country Hospital and as a lobbyist. From 1998 to 2004, she went to graduate school at Northwestern University, studying human development and social policy. In 2006, she joined the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, analyzing the racial microaggressions found on the campus, and is now a tenured Associate Professor in Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, and Social Work, continuing the discussion about racial inequality and issues to this day.