Make a Difference: Dr. Curtis Ivery


Back in his youth, Dr. Curtis Ivery had a learning experience through his dad that he never forgot. He was planting a garden with his dad and working up a real sweat. He couldn't understand why his dad was making him work so hard. His dad told him that if you want a garden to grow, you have to work it hard, you can't leave it to chance. Likewise, in life, if you want to grow and succeed you will have to work hard, you can't leave that to chance.

So, Ivery has been a hard worker throughout his life. He says his objective was to always outwork the person next to him "so his garden will grow."

His hard work has paid off tremendously. From serving as commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services for then-Gov. Bill Clinton in Arkansas, to now serving as chancellor of Wayne County Community College District. WCCCD has five campuses and serves more than 72,000 students. 


He makes an interesting statement relative to knowledge as chancellor. "I have eleven vice chancellors which report to me. I have to know more about their jobs than they do," he said.  

He has spent 40 years in education. As one of the most successful college administrators in the country, he has been sought out by other major universities and colleges to head up their institutions. But his response is that he loves his job here. He loves the city of Detroit. He sees the city progressing to the greatness that it should be and WCCCD is vital part of that greatness.

Ivery is an avid reader.

"I enjoy and learn so much from reading about the lives, struggles and conquests of others. You can acquire from others what to do and what not to do," he said.

But there is another side to Ivery, he is a noted author. He has penned six books, the latest being, "Papa Take My Hand." He co-authored this book with his daughter Angela Ivery.  Angela works as planning and operations manager for one of the largest aeronautics technology companies in the world. The genesis for this book came when he was walking down the hallway with his grandson and he said, "Papa take my hand." The book explores the reality of how our children want us "to hold their hands."

It is another indication of how Ivery continuously gives back through his experiences, dedication and knowledge

All one has to do is to walk through any of the five campuses of WCCCD and you can appreciate the 18 years of dedication that Dr. Curtis Ivery has given to making an impact on the lives of others..he is truly an Everyday Hero who is Making a Difference.

On a daily basis in spite of ones life's struggles and challenges, there are some people who reach out an make a positive impact on the lives of others.

That is why Local 4 and a prominent local clergyman, Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. have teamed up to find those people and tell their stories.

Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. located in Detroit in 1975. After teaching  2 years in DPS, he went to WSU receiving a Masters of Social Work, an activist on campus he created the Association of Black Students. He is an entrepreneur and serves on such civic boards as Vice Chair of The Bell Isle Advisory Committee, New Detroit, Inc, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. With extensive radio background expanding 25 years, he writes a weekly column for the Michigan Chronicle. He has been a regular on local/ national television shows dealing with political and social issues An ordained minister and seminary graduate, he serves on the executive committee and is the public relations chairman for the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity is an Assistant Pastor at Greater Christ Baptist Church.