Rita M. Myles

Myles, Rita M.

Rita attended the University of Illinois with the intent to teach fine arts to young people. As a member of "Omnimov," U of I's African-American Cultural Center's Dance Troupe, she accompanied the director and demonstrated various dance movements to African-American youths in the community. She was also involved in local plays, musicals, and dance shows that were made up of the African-American community and the university.

While teaching physical education at the University of Illinois, Rita made a decision to pursue a career in nursing. While in nursing school, she continued to stay connected to the African American community by volunteering to do blood pressure checks and provide health education in the local housing projects.

With a focus on mental illness, alcoholism, and addictions, Rita has worked in behavioral health hospitals. She was co-facilitator of an African-American, church-based support group for significant others of chemically dependent individuals. She also obtained a certification in addictions counseling during this time. In 1992, Rita became manager of "New Choice," The Carle Pavilion's Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center in Champaign. She was the first African-American to hold this position. In 1995, she was hired as The Pavilion's Director of Nursing, again becoming the first African-American nurse executive in the area to hold this position. She obtained a Master’s of Science degree in Hospital Services Administration from the University of St. Francis in 1999.

Rita was currently employed at Parkland College as a recruiter for the Health Professions until her retirement. She served as a senator for the Parkland College Association and was elected to serve on the Diversity Committee. She served as a representative of Parkland's Equal Employment Opportunity Search Committee, Parkland's Marketing Committee, and the Multicultural Student Advisory Committee. Rita was an advisor to the Student Nurse Association at Parkland and the Nursing Pinning Committee. She also facilitated Sister-To-Sister, a support network for African American females at Parkland College.

Rita is actively involved in her church in Urbana, where she serves on the cooking committee. She is an active member of the National Council of Negro Women and involved in SisterNet, a support network for African-American women in the community. Rita was also elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Illini Chapter American Red Cross. She currently lives in Champaign. She is the mother of three children, Lenny, Crystal, and Brandon, and the grandmother of one, Tyrique.