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Kevin Li

Alumni Feature: Kevin Li

Posted: 11/11/2013

Kevin Li is nationally recognized for his work as dean of instruction at Wilbur Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. He is also one of thousands of community college students who have transferred to Roosevelt University to complete an education and achieve the career of his dreams.

“I didn't always know what I wanted to do,” said Li, who emigrated alone from Hong Kong as a teen to study at Harold Washington College, one of Chicago’s City Colleges. “But I always knew I’d have a better chance for my life by getting through college,” he said. At Harold Washington, Li took economics and liked it. Then one of his professors told him about a scholarship opportunity at Roosevelt and Li applied, obtaining scholarships at the bachelor’s and then the master’s levels.

“I had a wonderful experience. I felt at ease at Roosevelt and I like to tell people that some of the best years of my life were at the University,” said the Roosevelt graduate who received a BA in economics in 1995 and an MA in economics in 1997.

After graduation, Li took a part-time position conducting institutional research at CCC. From there, he moved into a series of full-time director posts in research, planning and technology at CCC before transferring to Wright College, first as associate dean and now as dean.

Today, he is giving back to community college students whom he hopes will follow his example of finishing their education and pursuing their dreams. “Roosevelt instilled in me a sense of justice and equity,” Li said. “I felt then and still feel today that community colleges are the social equalizer that allows working class kids, like myself, to have an opportunity to get ahead.”

Working with faculty at Wright, Li has introduced a program called Math on Demand that helps unprepared students get ready for university-level math. Learning communities he started with the support of faculty, which links up courses and students from different disciplines through a common theme, also enables commuter students to create a community on campus and make friends.

The winner of the National Council of Institutional Administrators 2012 Outstanding Instructional Leadership award, Li explains his commitment to students best. “At the end of the day, I simply want to return a gift that I was fortunate to have,” he said. “I want them to have the same opportunity I was given.”