Clarion Chamber of Business and Industry named Dr. Brenda Sanders Dede Citizen of the Year for 2016 at its annual fundraising dinner March 11.
Dede, associate vice president for academic affairs at Clarion University, has been active in the community since she came to Clarion in 1995. She is in her second term on Clarion Borough Council, of which she is vice president. Dede has also served with the Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry, Borough Planning Commission, Kiwanis Club, United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, SAFE domestic violence agency, Clarion County Community Choir and First Baptist Church.
In 2012, Dede was recognized as Clarion University Alumni Association Distinguished Volunteer for her work both in the community and at the university. Among her contributions are founding and chairing the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast, the Juneteenth program and the campus Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.
"Brenda has made a huge impact, not only in Clarion, but in my life, as well," said Tracy Becker, executive director of Clarion Chamber of Business and Industry, who presented the award. "Each and every year, I look forward to working with her on the Martin Luther King celebration in January and the Juneteenth program in June. She is truly a humble and beautiful person, inside and out, and Clarion is very fortunate to have her."
Dede's major responsibilities as the university's associate vice president for academic affairs include serving as the university student advocate/ombudsman. She previously served as interim associate provost, associate vice president for academic and student affairs, assistant vice president for academic affairs, coordinator of graduate studies and director of faculty research development. In 2016, she was honored as Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience.
"Dr. Dede is an outstanding educator, student advocate and civic leader," said Dr. Karen Whitney, university president. "We are a better university and community because of her. We are very proud of her and of the community that is recognizing her for her invaluable contributions."
Dede is a proposal reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education and was a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' National Faculty Policy Review Project. She is a certified grants specialist and a certified grants reviewer. Dede has presented at local, state, regional and national conferences and has several publications to her credit in the areas of grantsmanship, professional development and leadership.
She is a charter member of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education and has served on its planning committee. She was honored in 2014 with the organization's Exemplary Award for Public Service. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education, having served as secretary and president. She received the PBCOHE 2002 Mary Davis Baltimore Award for Distinguished Service.
Dede holds three degrees from Texas Southern University, Houston: bachelor's in sociology/social work; master's in business education; and doctorate in higher education administration. In 2010, she was inducted into her alma mater's College of Education Hall of Fame.