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Perspectives on Black History Month from Professor DeLois Leapheart

February 8, 2021

Name: DeLois T. Leapheart

Hometown: Flint, Michigan

NU Connection: Northwood University Professor,
Law Program Curriculum Lead,
Mock Trial Program Director

How does Black History Month influence you?

It is a month dedicated to unearthing inspiring portions of America’s history that are rarely talked about during the other 11 months of each calendar year. I draw strength from examples set by people such as Mary McCleod Bethune, who founded a college with less than $2 in her pocket; Bessie Coleman, who taught herself French and moved to France to take flying lessons, because at that time in our nation’s history, flight schools were not open to people of her race and gender; Sadie T.M. Alexander, who accomplished a multitude of firsts; and so many others.

How has The Northwood Idea supported your quest for progress?

My quest for progress has been inspired by the history of Northwood University. The University’s website recounts that in 1959, “two young men with an idea, a goal, and a pragmatic philosophy to encompass it all, broke away from their careers in a traditional college structure to create a new concept in education.” They began with “a small amount of borrowed money for operating expenses and a large amount of determination” and went on to establish one of America’s greatest centers of free-market-based education. I have had the privilege of assisting in the accomplishment of that vision for almost three decades, all while growing from the experience myself. I find it rewarding to meet high school graduates who arrive with raw talent, and we have the privilege of introducing them to the knowledge, experiential learning opportunities (Mock Trial being one of many), resources, and other experiences that can change their trajectory. It has been a great joy to share in the transformation of these young people into professionals – ready to move on to their chosen career or to graduate school, and well-prepared to excel wherever they find themselves.

Simultaneously, by God’s grace, I have been able to found a for-profit law firm that served clients for several decades and a not-for-profit organization that annually helps hundreds of children and their families to lift themselves out of troubling circumstances. I have discovered that many of the fundamental components to running a successful business can be found in that historical account of Northwood’s origins:

  1. An idea/vision
    “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18

  2. A goal

  3. A pragmatic philosophy

  4. Starting with a small amount of money

  5. Starting with a large amount of determination

I thoroughly enjoy the privilege of sharing relevant portions of my knowledge and life experience with each class of students on their journey to graduation and beyond, while discovering more about the knowledge and life experience they bring from around the globe. The success of the enterprises I have led has been powered by those key historical principles, the students I have met, and the incredible wealth of learning opportunities that occur daily on the campus of Northwood University.

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