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Donation funds first endowed professorship in DePaul University’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Tera Agyepong named inaugural LeRoy D. Sanders and Mary Clare McHugh Sanders Endowed Professor

Tera Agyepong
Tera Agyepong, the inaugural LeRoy D. Sanders and Mary Clare McHugh Sanders Endowed Professor. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
CHICAGO — In honor of his late wife’s love for historical studies, DePaul University alumnus LeRoy “Lee” Sanders, who passed away in 2015, had bequeathed the LeRoy D. Sanders and Mary Clare McHugh Sanders Endowed Professorship to the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Department of History. The gift marks the first privately funded professorship for the college, which has been awarded to assistant professor Tera Agyepong for the 2016-17 academic year. 

“The Sanders had deep roots at DePaul and we’re grateful that they chose to invest in our faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences with their generous gift,” said Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco, dean of the college. “Tera is very deserving of this inaugural gift as a scholar with extraordinary promise and dedication to her teaching and research.”

In making the donation to DePaul, LeRoy Sanders expressed a desire that it be used to attract and retain faculty members in the history department. The endowed professorship will be conferred annually to advance the recipient’s scholarship and completion of significant historical research.

“It’s wonderful that the Sanders thought of the history department at DePaul for this professorship,” said Agyepong. “Their support will also benefit my colleagues who will receive the professorship, and I believe the impact will have a ripple effect throughout the university because research impacts teaching.” 

The professorship will support Agyepong’s one-year leave from teaching in order to complete her first book, “The Criminalization of Black Children: Race, Gender, and the Construction of Delinquency in Chicago’s Juvenile Justice System, 1899-1945.” 

“I feel very humbled and honored that I was thought of for this professorship,” Agyepong added. 

Agyepong, who has a law degree along with a doctorate in African American history, began her career at DePaul in the 2013-14 academic year. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of history, race, gender, and the law. Her scholarly articles have appeared in the journal Gender & History, The Journal of African American History, and Northwestern University School of Law’s Journal of International Human Rights. Agyepong has served as director of DePaul’s history department’s pre-law program and organizer of the black history month lecture. She has also worked on the undergraduate curriculum committee and was instrumental in the development of a new minor in the history of law. 

LeRoy Sanders met his wife while attending DePaul. He studied business and law and graduated from the College of Law in 1952. Mary Clare McHugh Sanders graduated from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1947. The couple also had deep ties to DePaul with several family members attending the university over the years. After his wife’s death in 2009, Lee was committed to making a gift that would honor both her memory and their dedication to their alma mater. 

The oldest college at DePaul, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences offers 28 undergraduate and 29 graduate degree programs. The college is DePaul's central source for scholarship and teaching in the fundamental methods, disciplines and fields of the humanities, interdisciplinary studies and the behavioral and social sciences. For more on the college and the department of history, visit


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