UofL alumna Taléa Drummer-Ferrell ’08, Kent State University’s first Black female dean of students, credits UofL Dean of Students Michael Mardis and other Cardinals with inspiring her along the path to that leadership post.
Drummer-Ferrell earned her education master’s degree in college student personnel at UofL before pursuing her doctorate at Kent State, where she has served in many roles including Student Multicultural Center director on her way to becoming the Ohio school’s top student advocate.
She talked about her Louisville educational experience and her reign as 2008 Kentucky Derby Festival queen in a discussion with Louisville Alumni about UofL’s impact on her life.
How has your UofL experience shaped your career or community involvement?
My experiences at the University of Louisville and the city of Louisville, Kentucky, changed my life. I began my career at UofL pursuing my master’s in a field that I loved. I also had the opportunity to meet Dean Mardis and talk to him about his journey to deanship as it was something I was interested in. I appreciated how he showed up as the dean, and that has stuck with me throughout my career. I also had a chance to connect with fantastic faculty, colleagues, classmates and students who I stay in touch with to this day.
I also had the once-in-a-lifetime experience to be the queen of the Kentucky Derby Festival. It was an honor to sit in that seat as the second Black woman to hold that title. I was able to build relationships with the princesses and the Fillies (group that presents the Derby Ball) during that time. Those experiences stick with me to this day.
What program or initiative at UofL would you like to encourage support of?
In the work that I do, and the experiences that I see students go through, I would be remiss not to encourage support of the Louis and Louise W. Weisser Bornwasser Student Emergency Fund. These are very difficult times that our students are experiencing and support to this fund can make a significant impact in the lives of those who are facing challenges.
To read the entire Q&A with Louisville Alumni, check here.