Dr. Jamel Santa Cruze Wright
President of Eureka College
Education: Ph.D. Communication Studies, University of Kansas; M.S. Communication Studies, University of Kansas; B.A. Communication Studies, Missouri Western State University
Department: President's Office
Address: Burrus Dickinson
Professional Activity: Dr. Wright arrived at Eureka College in 2014 as the Special Assistant to the President and later as Vice President of Strategic & Diversity Initiatives. While at the College, Dr. Wright has successfully led the effort to update the College’s strategic plan, enhance communications, overhaul the Title IX policy and processes on sexual discrimination, work collaboratively with human resources to examine and refine hiring practices, establish strategic community partnerships, and attract renowned speakers like John Carlos from the 1968 Olympics to the campus.
In the fall of 2015 the Eureka College Board of Trustees announced Dr. Wright’s appointment as interim president, which began on July 1, 2016 and ended on June 30, 2017 when the Board announced that she would be become the 27th president. She is the first woman and African American to serve as president of this 165-year-old institution. Dr. Wright received the 2019 Mayors Community Service Award during Peoria (IL) Mayor Jim Ardis’ State of the City address.
Community Engagement: Wright was one of several experts tapped to serve on the Ferguson Commission’s Citizen Law Enforcement Working Group (Ferguson, Mo) on community policing, racial profiling, use of force and mass demonstrations. Wright’s career reveals her enduring passion for education and servant leadership. She was Coordinator of the America Reads Program, President of the St. Joseph Area Literacy Coalition, and a teacher and trainer with the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom School Initiative. After recognizing her calling in higher education, she embarked on a 20-year career in the field, including a broad range of experiences at Boston College, Saint Louis University and the University of Kansas.
Uniquely Eureka Experience: “We are #UniquelyEureka. The opportunities you will find here are endless, and you won’t find them anywhere else. You will be challenged and supported as you hold the world in your hands. If you dream it, you can achieve it at Eureka College. Our academic setting is different from anything you’ve experienced, you’ll learn to be a problem solver and a critical thinker.”
About: Dr. Wright is a St. Louis, Mo. native, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and participates in many organizations and community efforts. She enjoys spending time with family, especially her daughter Kaiya, her stepson TJ and her husband, Telly. Dr. Wright received a doctorate and a master’s degree, both from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Mo., all in communication studies.