Throughout her 14 years at Moraine Valley, Dr. LoShay Willis has been dedicated to the success of students, faculty and the college. Having served as both faculty and administrator, she has exhibited the characteristics of a leader worthy of receiving the Vernon O. Crawley Leadership Award.

As a tenured Respiratory Therapy faculty member, clinical coordinator, department chair of Health Sciences, assistant dean of Career Programs and now dean, Willis always has advocated for the needs of her areas. She has worked well with faculty while collaborating with other areas to ensure Health Sciences programs received support.

She demonstrates a genuine interest in supporting and assisting the underrepresented and marginalized student population by volunteering as a mentor to students and staff members.

“Dr. Willis is humble and personable and always embraces opportunities to share her story with students and staff, hoping to be an inspiration to others,” said Carolyn DeWitt, assistant professor and coordinator of the Respiratory Therapy Program, who nominated Willis for the award.
“She is a forward thinker and innovative by nature as she always has expressed ideas for new health care programs for Moraine Valley.”

Innovative ways Willis has made an impact include:

  • Facilitating a partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry and Christ Hospital in 2019 that resulted in the college hosting Young Hearts for Life, so students could watch a livestream of an open-heart surgery performed at Christ Hospital
  • Playing a key role in creating the proposal for the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III grant, which was awarded to expand Health Science and Nursing program offerings at the Education Center at Blue Island
  • Supporting Health Sciences faculty in creating the Patient Care Technician certificate
  • Securing space for a Criminal Investigations Lab
  • Assisting in the development of the new Diagnostic Ultrasound A.A.S. degree that has received approval from the Illinois Community College Board and Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Willis also served as co-chair for the college’s Women’s Leadership Conference for four years and has served on several committees across campus, where she consistently is a team player, excellent communicator and collaborator.

“Dr. Willis is wise, flexible and resourceful, so no matter the task at hand or amount of effort required to complete a project, she is always committed to getting the job done,” DeWitt said.Willis currently oversees four departments in Career Programs: Health Sciences, Nursing, Mechanical

Technology and Welding. She has worked tirelessly to collaborate with other areas of the college to secure grant funding for these programs, including the WorkCred C+D Pathways Project grant, IBHE Nursing School grant, PATH grant, SCORERs grant and Rev Up EV Community College Initiative grant.

Willis is a co-lead in the Transfer Boost initiative to provide clearly defined pathways for students to affordably matriculate to Governors State and Southern Illinois universities. She attended the inaugural Illinois Community College Leadership Institute, was selected as a peer mentor for the HLC and was chosen by former college president, Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, to represent Moraine Valley as a member of the Northwestern Palos Council.

Passionate about ensuring equity for students, Willis spoke at the Preparing Future Faculty of Color event at Northern Illinois University in 2023 and 2024 and co-presented at the ILEA Equity Institute’s Conference in 2023.

“Winning this leadership award means I am walking in my purpose by serving my team and positively impacting them. Leadership is a privilege I do not take for granted. When I accepted the call to leadership, I accepted the responsibility to serve others,” Willis said. “I am very honored to be the recipient of this year’s leadership award.”