HOOKS INSTITUTE HALL OF FORMER DIRECTORS
||Bill E. Lawson, Ph.D.
Dec. 2006- Dec. 2007
Acting Director. Distinguished Professor of Philosophy. Lawson specializes in African
American Philosophy and Social and Political Philosophy. He teaches courses in the
areas of African American philosophy and social and political philosophy.
D’Ann Penner, Ph.D.
Dec. 2004- Oct. 2006
Former Associate Professor, Department of History. Penner taught Soviet and post-socialist
history as well as world, comparative, colonial/neocolonial, and women’s history.
In December 2004, Penner became Director of the Hooks Institute, after having served
as Co-Director with Doug Imig for the previous six months. Under Penner’s leadership,
the Institute expanded its outreach in the academic and local communities by, among
other things, sponsoring symposia on issues related to civil rights, human rights
and issues affecting minorities and the disadvantaged.
Penner headed the Hooks Institute task force that recorded the victims’ stories and
examined the institutional failures that caused Hurricane Katrina to be not only a
catastrophic natural disaster, but a man-made one as well. These interviews, analyses,
and commentary will be published in Overcoming Katrina: African American Voices from the Crescent City and Beyond,edited by D’Ann R. Penner and Keith C. Ferdinand and Preface by President Jimmy Carter.
(Palgrave MacMillian New York).
||Doug Imig, Ph.D.
2000 - Dec. 2004
Professor of Political Science. As Director of the Hooks Institute, Imig worked with
Dr. Hooks and University Officials to help secure substantial federal and state funding
to endow the Institute. Imig's interests included social movements, social policy,
community advocacy, and citizen involvement. His publications include Poverty and
Power: The Political Representation of Poor Americans, and Contentious Europeans: Voice and Representation in an Emerging Polity.
FORMER ASSOCIATE OR ASSISTANT DIRECTORS
Assistant Director, 2010 - 2013
Graves holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Lincoln University in Jefferson
City, MO, and a Master's Degree in Public Affairs from Park University in Parkville,
MO. She has over fifteen years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising,
and partnership development.
Prior to joining the Hooks Institute, Graves served as Community Development Director
of a statewide Medicaid division for a managed care organization.
Paul Wright, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Programming
Dr. Wright also served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Health & Sport
Sciences and a Senior Faculty Researcher in the Center for Research in Educational
Policy at the University of Memphis.
Wright received his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago
in 2001. Since then, his teaching, research, and service have been inter-connected
and focused on the needs of urban populations, community engagement, and social justice.
His primary line of research is positive youth development through physical activity.
Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II
Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Urban Studies
from Johnson C. Smith University and a Master of Divinity degree from Johnson C. Smith
Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He received
his Doctor of Ministry from Louisville Seminary in 2002 while serving as Pastor of
St. James Presbyterian Church.
During Dr. Nelson’s tenure at the Institute, he helped provide staff development training
for Teacher Specialists, Curriculum Specialists, and Principal Leaders who provide
assistance for low-performing schools. He now serves as the Director of the Presbyterian
Church Office of Public Witness in Washington D.C.