12:00 AM

Samuel Gresham to serve as Executive Director of the Ohio Commission on African American Males

Samuel Gresham Jr. has been appointed to lead efforts that address the social, economic and educational needs of African American males as executive director of the Ohio Commission on African American Males, housed at The Ohio State University. The commission will be relocated to the African American and African Studies Community Extension Center, 905 Mount Vernon Ave.

Gresham served as executive director of Common Cause/Ohio for the last three years after completing a 20-year run as president and chief executive officer of the Columbus Urban League in 2005. In his new role, Gresham will direct programming, research efforts and policy initiatives, and develop multi-level partnerships to establish a national clearinghouse on African American men and boys.

Gresham is an original member of the commission with a long-standing concern of the plight of African American males.

"With more than 25 years invested in the success of urban communities and effective public policy, I have a true affinity toward empowering young African American men," he said. "To be able to bridge those experiences with the work of the commission and support of Ohio State is a tremendous opportunity."

"Sam brings broad and extensive experience in urban affairs to the efforts of the commission," said Mac Stewart, chief diversity officer and vice provost for Ohio State's Office of Minority Affairs. "Coupled with the Bell Resource Center on the African American Male and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the commission adds an important component to the university's efforts to identify the issues and challenges that steer young Black males away from higher education."

Stewart added that the partnership will allow Ohio State faculty and staff to engage in projects and academic research of similar focus and unique interest.

"The relocation of the commission to the university's environment was critical to the restructure of our purpose and mission," Gresham said. "It was important for us to align our work with an institution that would allow us to leverage resources to get the job done.

"Given the opportunity for collaborations with the Bell Center and the Kirwan Institute, I don't know of any other college in the country with this particular degree of synergy."

The scope of the commission will remain statewide and branch beyond major metropolitan areas to include community education and public awareness and enrichment programming.

"We have an opportunity to move forward in building coalitions that will help build lasting legacies in communities," Gresham said.