Nell Clay, Springfield African American History Museum

Nell Clay

Nell Clay, President, Board of Directors,
African American History Museum

Current location: Springfield IL
UIS degree:
M.A. 1993 (Human Resource, Training and Development – Individual Option)

Other degrees:
Business Education and a minor in Business Administration, SIU-Carbondale

Career History:
I taught for the first 12 or 13 years of my career in Carbondale, Aurora and Springfield, Illinois. I then entered public service as Director of Civil Rights for two state agencies, the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Illinois Department of Transportation. After retiring from the Illinois Dept. of Transportation, I worked as a Realtor here in Springfield, and I now serve as President of the Board of Directors, Springfield Illinois African-American History Museum.

Why I enrolled at UIS/SSU:
I’ve always been interested in education, which is the way for anyone to advance, and culturally for African Americans to advance in particular. I just decided I wanted to get my master’s. At the time, I was working full time, I had two boys who were very active in everything, so trying to juggle all that with school was interesting.

I remember taking a course during the summer and I would be at my boy’s baseball game doing my work in the stands. And then someone would nudge me and say, “Okay, okay. Your son’s getting ready to play. You gotta look now!”

So it was challenging, but it was also fun.

What I gained from UIS:
It prepared me even for what I do today as far as speaking in front of people and not being timid, being more outgoing. My Master’s program exposed me to so many different people and having to make presentations got me ready to do the training I did on my job. I learned how to develop a program and then carry that forward and implement it and present it.