Mildred Barnes Griggs, PhD
Dean Emeritus | Class of 2015
Mildred Barnes Griggs is professor and dean emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a native of Marianna, Arkansas. She completed her undergraduate degree at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal (AM&N) College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff—UAPB) in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in May 1963, and received her graduate degrees at the University of Illinois in 1967 and 1970.
Dr. Griggs had many varied roles at the University of Illinois that included teaching graduate and undergraduate classes; advising students; directing dissertation research and funded research projects; serving on committees at the university, state and national levels; serving in leadership capacities in professional organizations; and serving as Dean of the College of Education.
After joining the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1970, she became the first African American to be promoted through the academic ranks of assistant, associate, and full professor. She was also the first female dean of a college in the University of Illinois. Her peers and students frequently recognized her as an outstanding instructor and student adviser.
Griggs was named the 2006 S. A. Haley Lecturer at the 50th Annual Rural Life Conference sponsored by the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences at UAPB. She also spoke at the university’s 1993 Homecoming Convocation. She is a life member of the UAPB/AM&N Alumni Association and was inducted into the UAPB Hall of Fame.
In addition to her academic accomplishments, she served as one of the two University of Illinois Faculty Athletics Representatives to the Big Ten and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for twelve years. In 2001, the University of Illinois Mothers Association named her the recipient of its prestigious Medallion of Honor Award. In 2008, the provost of the University of Illinois selected her as one of the University’s outstanding alumni and hung a banner in her honor on the University of Illinois campus.
She was inducted into Delta Eta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority at AM&N. She is currently a life member and spends considerable time on public service activities.
She retired from the University of Illinois on August 20, 2000. After retirement, she earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the College of Law at the University of Illinois and is currently licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois.
She is a consultant at the East Arkansas Enterprise Community and director of the Arkansas Delta Seeds of Change (ADSOC). ADSOC is an organization that was formed by farmers and representatives from various federal, state, and not-for-profit agencies with a grant from Heifer International to help establish a sustainable food system in the East Arkansas Delta region.