Friends of LeRoy Mitchell
Born in Mount Pleasant, New York, LeRoy Mitchell became a part of the foster system. His foster parents, both of whom has third-grade educations, moved during the Great Depression years to White Plains, New York, from the South in search of a better way of life. Mitchell, the next-to-youngest of the couple’s 12 foster children, was the only one adopted. Mitchell entered the world of educational opportunity at State University of New York-Buffalo. He was teaching junior high school when his alma mater offered him a job in financial aid for its new educational opportunity program. In June, 1980, he came to NIU from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, to become director of the CHANCE program. He worked in a similar educational opportunity program while at Canisius College. He has carried on the good work of his parents: Mitchell and his wife, Veatrice, are parents of four. Three were adopted from the 50+ foster children who have come through the Mitchell home. The Mitchells also maintain a house of the Lord. They founded the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church – DeKalb’s first African American congregation – and Mitchell remains the pastor. He has managed to squeeze his pastoral duties into his lunch breaks. Rev. Mitchell retired from NIU in 2008.