Carlos Donaldson, Sr.

Donaldson, Sr., Carlos

Carlos Donaldson was born in Spring City, Tennessee. He had one brother and two sisters. He attended grade school and high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Carlos came to Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul in February 1958, as an Airman in the United States Air Force. He met and married Willeta Hassell, a Champaign native, in 1960. Together, they had three children: Carlos, Jr., Carletta, and Dennis. They also have a daughter-in-law, Mae, and two grandsons, Ryan and Blake.

Carlos began employment at the University of Illinois in January, 1962, as a mail carrier. In 1969, he began taking courses at the University of Illinois, receiving a Bachelor's degree in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, majoring in Urban and Regional Planning. Carlos worked full-time while attending college and completed his degree one semester short of 10 years, in 1979. He attended class during lunch hours and in the evenings while working and raising his family. He retired as Supervisor II of Campus Mail after 38 years of service on December 31, 1999.

Carlos was involved in many civic and community activities. He was President of #119 Service Employees Union (SEIU) for seven years and Vice President of Twin City Federation of Labor. He was a member of the Urbana Neighborhood Committee that was instrumental in desegregation of the Urbana Schools. He was very active in the Thomas Paine P.T.A., and served as Co-President, with Willeta, on the University of Illinois (UNI) High School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). Carlos was appointed to the Urbana School Board and was then elected to the Urbana School Board from 1981-1985. He is also an active member of the Bethel A.M.E. Church, previously serving as Steward, Trustee, as well as on the Stewardship and Finance and Scholarship Committee.

Carlos met many special people he will not forget while working and attending school at the University of Illinois: University of Illinois President John Corbally, President Stanley Ikenberry, Robert P. Link, Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and Robert Copeland, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Carlos enjoys attending University of Illinois basketball and football games. He also enjoys working outdoors in his yard, and traveling with his wife, Willeta.