It wasn’t easy being Dena Craig in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
“When I think back to my U of I days, I remember being one of three African Americans in the College of Journalism,” says the Emmy-winning TV producer. “It was a challenge, but such a rewarding triumph to be included among such a great bunch of young adults just trying to figure out how to express ourselves in the world.
“My enthusiasm and passion to be able to share my vision and tell my story led me into the production arena. My first production job after graduation was with Harpo Studios and I was able to learn from the best in my field. I worked hard and from there landed top show producer positions for several nationally syndicated television shows.
“When I look back, it all started there — at the U of I, in Greg Hall.
“I am also honored to be a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first African American sorority founded. There was a time when African Americans couldn’t live on the U of I campus, but Gamma Chapter alumnae raised more than $200,000 for a campus marker and scholarship fund to commemorate our centennial anniversary in February of 2014.
“In addition, a lounge was named for Gamma Chapter in Bousfield Hall after Sixth Supreme Basileus and the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Illinois, Maudelle Bousfield.”