Dr. LaVerne Gyant is director of the Center for Black Studies and associate professor in Adult Higher Education at Northern Illinois University, where she teaches classes in both adult/higher education and Black Studies. She is a graduate of Cheyney State University and Pennsylvania State University where she received both her master's and doctorate degree.
While at Penn State, Dr. Gyant was an instructor with the African American Studies Program and was interim director of the African/African American Studies Department. She also served as advisor for Kappa Rho Chapter, was co-advisor to NPHC-PSU, and was an area coordinator for the Northeast Region, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. At Pennsylvania State University, she was advisor to the Martin Luther King Jr. Interest House, one of the charter members of the Black Graduate Student Associations, and president of the Black Forum.
She is currently advisor to the John Henrike Clark Honor Society, S.I.S.T.E.R.S., the Afrikan Cultural Pageant, Zeta Nu Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and she has organized a Sister Circle for women of African descent intergenerational. As part of her commitment to make sure the Center is active in the community, she is coordinator of the Septima P. Clark Afterschool Program and the Rites of Passage Program at Logan St. Baptist Church in Batavia. She has worked with many of the student organizations on campus.
Dr. Gyant is past president of the African Heritage Studies Association, member of the National Council for Black Studies, the International Black Women's Congress, Consortium of Doctors, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and several other organizations. She has received several awards and recommendations for her work in and outside of the class.
Her research interests are in African American women and the contributions and participation of African Americans in adult education. Her publications include Spirituality, the Key to Self-definition, All That and More: A Genealogy of African American Women Educators; Educating Head, Hand, and Heart, Anna Cooper and Nannie Burroughs; Passing the Torch: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement; Henrietta V. Davis and Amy J. Garvey, Women of the UNIA; The Problems and Promises of Diversity in the Professions: Implications for Continuing Education, The Missing Link: Black Women in Black/Africana Studies; Waiting to Exhale: Opening New Avenues to Learning. She has presented at numerous conferences and college campuses.
Dr. Gyant is very much committed to the struggle and survival of people of color. "I am because we are, we are because I am" are words she strives to live by. You can always find her behind the scenes working for the betterment of others. "As long as you have the Creator by your side, you don't have to worry. Don't be afraid of what life has to offer. You can do it. Take the risk."