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Royel Johnson

Royel Johnson

Assistant professor | Penn State | Class of 2010

If it happened to Royel Johnson at Illinois, it’s a good bet it happened at “The Black House.”

“My most memorable experiences at UIUC all seem to relate to the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center,” says the Penn State assistant professor, who earned both his bachelor’s (political science/government) and master’s (education policy) from the UI.

“During much of my undergraduate years, and even graduate school, the Black House provided safe, culturally affirming space for me. In fact, it’s where I attended my first campus program, joined my first student organization, and perhaps most importantly, where I was about to find a sense of belonging on campus.

“From the weekly ‘Lunch and Learn’ series to 100 strong, I found community at the Black House. Indeed, it was a home away from home.

“I’m appreciative of the staff and leadership, specifically Dr. Nameka Bates. She role modeled what it meant to be a servant-leader. I’m indebted to her, among many others, who went above and beyond to provide opportunities for me to develop as student leader and emerging scholar."