Willeta Donaldson

Donaldson, Willeta

Willeta Donaldson was born in 1940 in Champaign County. She graduated from Champaign High School (now Central High School) in 1958, and immediately began employment at the University of Illinois as a Clerk-Stenographer in the Office of Admissions and Records. She retired as an Administrative Assistant I (Assistant to the Director of Admissions) in 1995. Her duties included handling admissions for special category applicants, serving as Affirmative Action Officer for 17 years and Assistant to the Director for Residency for incoming undergraduate and graduate students. She went back to work part-time in 1997 for the director of development at the University of Illinois in the School of Social Work, retiring in 2004.

Willeta, along with several others, was instrumental in the integration of Urbana Schools. She served as an officer at Thomas Paine Elementary School, Urbana Junior High School and Urbana Senior High School Parent Teacher Association (PTA). She and Carlos were also co-presidents at the University High School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

Willeta received a NAACP Award and College of LAS Award (Transition Program) in the year 2000. She was “Black Mom of the Year” at the University of Illinois in 1982. She served as Chair of the Urbana Human Relations Commission, City of Urbana and was a member of the University of Illinois Campus Round Table. She was also a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church and President of the Bethel Choir.

Willeta's husband, Carlos, is a University of Illinois graduate and worked at the University until his retirement in 1999. Their three children, Carlos Jr., Carletta, and Dennis also attended the University and have worked or do work in Champaign County. Carlos Jr. and his wife Mae Donaldson have two sons: Ryan and Blake.

Willeta Donaldson passed away on February 2, 2019 on the 59th anniversary of her marriage.