Faculty SPOTLIGHT | Betty Overton-Adkins

Black History Month is celebrated every February as a time to commemorate and acknowledge the Black Americans who played a critical role in the founding and shaping of the United States.

Union Institute & University is participating in the celebration by spotlighting members of our faculty and staff.

Faculty SPOTLIGHT | Betty Overton-Adkins

Tell us about your role at Union Institute & University.
I am a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, Ethical and Creative Leadership (ELC) concentration, and I oversee the Executive Leadership Certificate. I also serve on the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Diversity Committee and on the university’s Academic Review Committee (ARC).

Tell us about a moment in Black History that influenced or shaped your career/life.
It is hard to pinpoint one moment that influenced me. I consider myself a product of the Civil Rights Movement. My family, teachers, and others impressed on me that the marches, sit-ins, legislation, and other events were for me–so that my future in this country would be better. I understood the changes that would come carried the expectation that I would give back, and that has influenced my life and career.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
I am glad we have Black History Month. It is important to highlight the contributions of African Americans to our country and the world. But the learning that needs to take place, the healing that needs to happen must be ongoing; it cannot be relegated to one month.

Is there a Black leader, past or present, who inspires you?
As a Black woman, educator, and Floridian, I am inspired by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. The daughter of former slaves, she found ways to educate herself and then worked the rest of her life to educate others, especially black women. She was the founding president of Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona, Florida, an advisor to three U.S. presidents, and the creator of the National Council of Negro Women.

What advice do you have for people looking to start their careers or become a leader?
My advice comes in the form of one of Dr. Bethune’s quotes: “Believe in yourself, learn, and never stop wanting to build a better world.”

What is your favorite mantra?
You’ve got this.