Ruby Mendenhall Named Poet Laureate for the City of Urbana, Illinois

The Urbana Arts and Culture Program has appointed Ruby Mendenhall, the Kathryn Lee Baynes Dallenbach Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as Poet Laureate for the city of Urbana, Illinois.

Dr. Mendenhall has been with the University of Illinois since 2006, currently serving as a professor in sociology, African American studies, and urban and regional planning. She also holds appointments with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. Additionally, she serves as the associate dean for diversity and democratization of health innovation at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

As a scholar, Dr. Mendenhall studies issues of social inequality over the life course and the role of public policy and individuals’ agency in facilitating social and economic mobility. She has also conducted research on the Gautreaux Assisted Housing Program in Chicago, which is one of the nation’s largest desegregation programs.

Dr. Mendenhall received her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois Chicago, a master of public policy degree from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in human development and social policy from Northwestern University.

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