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VOL. 130 | NO. 249 | Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Delavega Joins Hooks Institute Leadership Team

By Kate Simone

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Dr. Elena Delavega, assistant professor in the University of Memphis’ Department of Social Work, has been named associate director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the U of M. A former policy fellow at the institute, Delavega specializes in the study of poverty and economic development.

Hometown: My hometown is Memphis. I have fallen in love with this city and I am committed to working to improve Memphis and the lives of all Memphians. Sadly, I was not born here. I was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, and lived in Houston, Texas, for almost 20 years. I received all my degrees in Houston.


Experience: Since 2011, I am an assistant professor of social work at the University of Memphis, where I teach social welfare policy, advanced community practice, and poverty in the Master of Social Work program. I have been a policy fellow of the Hooks Institute for Social Change and co-director of the Mid-South Family and Community Empowerment Institute since 2014.

Family: I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over 30 years. We have a daughter who just turned 18 years old. She was very proud to vote in the local elections the week after her 18th birthday. She is a smart and beautiful young woman, and gives me hope for the future.

Favorite quote: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” – Dylan Thomas

The sports team(s) you root for: The Memphis Tigers in any sport. Go Tigers!

What talent do you wish you had? I wish I could multiply myself to complete multiple tasks effectively at once.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? My articles and publications are very important, but I think the Memphis Poverty Fact Sheet is the best of all because it serves the entire Memphis community and beyond. I love to do work that is truly useful. But other things matter too. Recently, a student asked me to be his mentor. That was the proudest moment of my life.

What do you most enjoy about your work? The ability to think, reflect, create, and share knowledge. Teaching and helping the next generation achieve great things is the best thing I can do. I particularly care for the young men in the Hooks African American Male Initiative and hope to see every one of them succeed as professionals and human beings.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Do not listen to the voices that tell you that you are “less than.” You are wonderful, precious, smart and beautiful.

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis has added Oneka Y. Richardson and Ragan Oglesby-Phillips to the Hooks Institute Advisory Board. In addition, Rorie Trammel has been appointed assistant director, and Joy Sutherland has been named administrative coordinator. Will Love has joined the institute and the UofM Libraries to digitize portions of the Benjamin Lawson Hooks Papers.


Dr. Milton Moreland has been named vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Rhodes College. A professor of religious studies, Moreland has worked at Rhodes since 2003 and served as chair of the archaeology program, director of the Memphis Center and coordinator of the Institute for Regional Studies at Rhodes.

Brandon Herrington has been named director of marketing at Montgomery Martin Contractors, where he will oversee day-to-day marketing and communications responsibilities and assist in ongoing business development efforts. Herrington previously served as director of development for LifeLinc Corp.


Jill M. Steinberg, a shareholder in Baker Donelson’s Memphis office, has been elected a member of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a national association of trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment. Steinberg concentrates her practice in litigation.

Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris has received the Distinguished Service to the States medal from The Council of State Governments. The medal is the highest honor awarded by CSG for outstanding and sustained leadership on behalf of the states.

The University of Memphis delegation to the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature earned five awards at the recent forum. The UofM awards included: Outstanding Delegation (runner-up for best in House of Representatives); Charles Uffelman, Best Lobbyist; David Carlyle, Best Senator and winner of the race to be next year’s lieutenant governor; and Zachary Crawford, Carlisle Award for Best Speaker.

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