Belle S. Wheelan

Belle S. Wheelan currently serves as president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is the first African American and the first woman to serve in this capacity. Her career spans 42 years and includes the roles of faculty member, chief student services officer, campus provost, college president and secretary of education. In several of those roles she was the first African American and/or woman to serve in those capacities.

Dr. Wheelan received her bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in Texas (1972) with a double major in psychology and sociology; her master’s from Louisiana State University (1974) in developmental educational psychology; and her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin (1984) in educational administration with a special concentration in community college leadership.

She has received numerous awards and recognition including five honorary degrees; the Distinguished Graduate Award from Trinity University (2002), and from the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin (1992); Washingtonian Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, DC (2001); the AAUW Woman of Distinction Award (2002), and the AACC Leadership Award (2011).

She holds and has held membership in numerous local, state and national organizations including Rotary International; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the American College Testing, Inc., board of directors; American Association of Community Colleges’ board of directors; the President’s Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs Excelencia in Education’s board of directors, and the National Student Clearinghouse board of directors.

Dr. Wheelan attributes her success to hard work, endurance, tenacity, and being in the right place at the right time. She recognizes that prayer and support from family and friends make anything possible.

Dr. Wheelan is the mother of an adult son named Reginald.

John Hope Franklin Award nominee Belle Wheelan

Belle Wheelan, the first African American and the first woman to serve as President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges,  will be featured in the March 12, 2015 edition of Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. Dr. Wheelan will be recognized for her contributions to higher education, especially to the community college sector, and she'll be presented with the Diverse John Hope Franklin award.