Wilda Graham

Administrative & Finance Associate

North Park University


What is your position at North Park University?

Administration & Finance Associate; Administrative Assistant to Carl Balsam, Ex. VP/CFO.

Why is Black History Month Important?

Black History month is important because it is a time set aside to highlight and honor African Americans who have made contributions to our advancement as a people. We have so many outstanding African Americans whose presence has been far-reaching in so many areas. There are prominent religious leaders, civil rights leaders, entertainers, educators, athletes, politicians, and others. It’s important that these prominent figures are highlighted and brought to remembrance so that we as a people never forget the price paid, and the struggles they endured are what brought us to where we are now.  Secondly, to continue to dream and aspire to be the best version of whom God created us to be. And, as we engage, encourage, and pour into the lives of others, we thereby make our own contribution whether great or small.

Who is someone famous in African American history that has inspired you personally? Why?

I was raised in such a strict religious environment within the Church of God in Christ Church (COGIC). Being an African American from that community, I became aware of Dr. Arenia C. Mallory very early in life. Dr. Mallory was well educated; she had a master’s degree from the University of Illinois, and a doctorate from Bethune-Cookman College. Seeing images of her inspired me to look up to her. Her accomplishments resonated with me. I saw that you could have God and accomplish other things in life. Her being a woman had an even greater impact.

How have you had influence on the Black Community here at North Park?

I've heard that I have had an influence on others, but in all honesty, I haven’t sought to single anyone out because they were Black. However, some of the connections probably happened because of spirits of kinship. There seems to always be an unspoken “knowing” that happens between African Americans. In some past circumstances there were situations where the person or persons needed to speak with someone in confidence, seeking some type of encouragement or guidance. I was that person that encouraged and guided them. If I have helped any one person, then my living has not been in vain.