Celebrating the Life of Dr. Antoinette "Bonnie" Candia-Bailey

Celebrating the Life of Dr. Antoinette "Bonnie" Candia-Bailey

The recent passing of Dr. Antoinette "Bonnie" Candia-Bailey has sent shockwaves through the Lincoln University of Missouri and HBCU communities. In her honor, HBCU Leggings wants to take this opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary life and contributions of an esteemed HBCU alumna and advocate for higher education. Dr. Candia-Bailey's journey was one marked by dedication, resilience, and a profound commitment to uplifting the student experience, particularly within the HBCU community.

A Life Rooted in Faith and Family

Dr. Candia Bailey was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where she was an active member of the church community. She attended Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, where she served on the usher board, sang in the youth choir, and announced church events. From a young age, the value of education was instilled in Dr. Candia-Bailey by her family. Her commitment to lifelong learning led her to achieve significant milestones in her academic journey.

A Scholar's Journey

Dr. Candia-Bailey's pursuit of knowledge was relentless. She was a two-time HBCU alumna, having graduated from Lincoln University of Missouri with a Bachelor's in Sociology in 1998, setting the stage for her remarkable academic path. Her thirst for learning continued as she earned a Master's in Rehabilitation Counseling/Disability Studies from Michigan State University in 2001. Finally, in 2016, she achieved the pinnacle of academic success, earning a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from North Carolina A&T State University. These accomplishments highlighted Bonnie's unwavering dedication to personal and academic growth.

Advocate and Servant Leader

In addition to her impressive academic background, Dr. Candia-Bailey was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and The Order of Eastern Star, underscoring her commitment to community and service. Her life was a testament to her unwavering commitment to education and her belief in the transformative power of knowledge.

A Career Dedicated to Change

Throughout her 23-year career in higher education, Dr. Candia-Bailey served as a senior administrator at various universities across the United States. Her leadership roles ranged from associate dean of students and senior project coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to vice president of student affairs and chief diversity officer and Title IX coordinator at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Her journey ultimately led her back to her alma mater, Lincoln University of Missouri, where she served as Vice President for Student Affairs. In each position, she brought her unique perspective and passion for advocating for individuals with disabilities, social justice, and change.

Breaking Ground with Research

One of her most notable achievements was her Ph.D. dissertation, titled "My Sister, Myself: The Identification of Sociocultural Factors That Affect the Advancement of African American Women into Senior-Level Administrative Positions." This groundbreaking research explored the challenges and opportunities faced by African American women in leadership roles within academic institutions, shedding light on the importance of diversity and inclusion in higher education. As a passionate and dynamic speaker, Dr. Candia-Bailey presented her research findings, titled "My Sister and Myself," on numerous college campuses, at national conferences, in churches, and for various organizations. Her ability to connect with others, challenge prevailing thoughts, and inspire change made her a sought-after voice in the field of higher education.

A Legacy of Charm and Compassion

Beyond her professional achievements, Dr. Candia-Bailey was known for her extroverted spirit, quick wit, infectious smile, kind and compassionate nature, and impeccable style. She had an innate ability to make people feel valued and heard, and her confidence was contagious. Dr. Candia-Bailey’s loved ones recount her motto being “I don’t ever want to should’ve, could’ve, would’ve, so I do!” Her dedication to community extended to her membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and The Order of Eastern Star, where she continued to build bonds of sisterhood and service. Dr. Candia-Bailey's commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others was a reflection of her strong values and the love she held for her family, sorority sisters, friends, and the broader HBCU community.

Continuing Bonnie's Legacy

As we remember the life of Dr. Antoinette "Bonnie" Candia-Bailey, it's essential to focus on identifying discrimination and taking action to address it within our workplaces. Discrimination, in any form, poses a significant challenge to individuals and organizations alike. To honor Dr. Candia-Bailey's memory, let's be proactive in recognizing and reporting discrimination, ensuring a fair and inclusive work environment. Here's how we can make a difference together:

Spotting Discrimination:

  1. Educate Ourselves: Knowledge is our greatest weapon against discrimination. Let's take the time to understand what discrimination and bias look like, both overt and subtle. This awareness enables us to identify discrimination when it occurs.
  2. Trust Our Instincts: If something doesn't feel right, it's worth investigating. Sometimes, discrimination can be subtle, making it essential to trust our instincts when we suspect unfair treatment based on race, gender, age, or other protected characteristics.

Reporting Discrimination:

  1. Create Safe Channels: We must establish safe and confidential channels for reporting discrimination incidents. Employees should feel confident that their concerns will be taken seriously and kept confidential to prevent retaliation.
  2. Promote Open Dialogue: Encourage open communication about discrimination-related issues among team members at all levels. An environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their experiences helps shed light on problems that might otherwise go unnoticed.
  3. Take Action: When discrimination is reported, swift and appropriate action should be taken to investigate the matter thoroughly. Accountability is key to preventing recurrence.

Honoring Her Memory

As we reflect on the remarkable life of Dr. Antoinette "Bonnie" Candia-Bailey, let us be inspired by her dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to education and social justice. Her legacy serves as a guiding light for all of us, reminding us to embrace diversity, advocate for change, and cherish every moment we have.

In her memory, HBCU Leggings joins the Lincoln University of Missouri and HBCU communities in celebrating the life of Dr. Antoinette "Bonnie" Candia-Bailey, an extraordinary alumna and advocate for higher education. May her legacy continue to inspire us all to live our lives with purpose and make a positive impact on the world.

With heartfelt gratitude and remembrance,

HBCU Leggings

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