University Communications



Volume 23, Number 4, June 1996


Kansas City Kansas Community College

November 13, 2007

Ellison First to Join KCKCC Trustees for Second Time

Image of Dr. Nolen Ellison
Forty years after his election to the first Board of Trustees at Kansas City Kansas Community College and his wife Carole at his side, Nolen Ellison was sworn in Tuesday for his second term as a trustee by board attorney Deryl Wynn.

(KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)

For the second time in a 45-year career in education, Nolen Ellison, Ph.D., was sworn in as a member of the Board of Trustees at Kansas City Kansas Community College Tuesday.

Ellison was elected to the College's first board in 1967, at 26 years of age one of the youngest in the nation and the first African American to serve on the board. The first trustee to serve separate terms, his second term started Tuesday after being appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late Nancy Carry.

In assuming his new position, Ellison pledged his support of elected board officers and the elected leadership; to build on the existing College plans as currently constituted while fulfilling the expectations and hopes for the College as expressed by local citizens; and to work with board leadership and the executive team to establish and operationalize a Board Ad-Hoc Planning and Evaluation Committee through June of 2008.

Ellison also announced three priorities of focus through his term that runs through 2008-09;

  • Focus on the welfare of KCKCC students and taxpayers by working to keep tuition low, planning for education-service growth and expanding college programs throughout Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties.
  • Focus on trustee accountability to the public by instilling public confidence with the scope of the Kansas Open Meeting Law, the KCKCC/Association of Community College Trustees Handbook and the Board of Trustees Code of Ethics.
  • Focus on institutional quality and teaching consistent with the expectations of the North Central Association-KCKCC Strategic Plan and Institutional Effectiveness Monitoring by providing leadership at the Board level in addressing Trustee policies that support enhancement of institutional and education quality, implementation of effective teaching-learning strategies, expansion of career programs and expansion of workforce development.

Ellison brings a wealth of educational experience to the board. The president of Seattle Central Community College from 1972-74, he served as president and CEO of the Cuyahoga Community College District in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1974-91. In 2004, Cuyahoga opened a new high-tech building in Ellison's name.

Ellison has also served in administrative and teaching positions at Michigan State University and mostly recently UMKC. Since retiring from UMKC, Ellison has worked with KCKCC, holding workshops with board members on trustee development and with administrators on strategic planning.

Born and raised in Wyandotte County, Ellison was an outstanding athlete at Wyandotte High School where he helped Walt Shublom-coached teams win three consecutive state basketball champions from 1957-59. Heavily recruited out of high school, he played three years at the University of Kansas where he was the highest scoring guard in KU history and team captain his senior year.

Ellison taught World History and American Government and coached boys basketball at Sumner High School from 1963-67, when he was elected to the Board of Trustees. He left teaching to join the KCK Model Cities Program planning in 1967 only to be recruited by Michigan State University to pursue a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Institutional Management. While at Michigan State, he served as Associate Director for the Center for Urban Affairs and as Executive Assistant to the President.