The Drake Center has three focus areas:


The Drake Center is home to the Black Male Leadership Academy (BMLA).  Each summer, the BMLA hosts between 20 and 30 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who participate in the Summer Institute.  The Summer Institute is a week-long intensive program that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM); Leadership Development and African-American History.  Participants spend the entire experience living in student housing at Roosevelt building social, intellectual, and cultural capital.

At the end of the Summer Institute, participants return to Roosevelt on the second Saturday during the school year to participate in enrichment activities and continuing to build social, cultural and intellectual capital.

The 2019 Summer Institute runs from July 6-12 and applications are due by May 17.

In addition to the application, a participation waiver form and an emergency contact form are both required.


The Drake Center is also home to interdisciplinary faculty research.  This is done by awarding mini-research grants to assist Roosevelt University faculty. Amounts range from $500 to $1000 and can be used for any purpose that will enhance scholarly work on issues related to the mission of the St. Clair Drake Center.

Over the last several years, the center has supported research by the following faculty members of Roosevelt University:

Community Engagement

Finally, the Drake Center is involved in community projects.  Currently the center is involved in creating opportunities for African American construction contractors.  This project, called the Minority Contractor Technical Assistance Center (MCTAC) is intended to build the capacity of minority contractors in order to provide increased employment opportunities for under-resourced communities. MCTAC is a joint effort between Roosevelt University and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Drake Center Advisory Board Members

  • Al Bennett, Director, St. Clair Drake Center
  • Elissa Efroymson, Co-chair
  • Margie Feitler
  • Patricia Ford
  • Robert Johnson, Co-chair
  • Paul King
  • Rob Levin
  • Faculty Representative: Jacqueline Trussell
  • Student Representative: (TBD)
  • Ex-officio: Catherine Campbell, Michael Ford