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Urban League names new leader

Urban League names new leader

Urban League of Rochester, N.Y. Inc. has tapped a nonprofit veteran as its next leader.

Seanelle Hawkins
Seanelle Hawkins

Seanelle Hawkins will step into the role of president and CEO on June 3, succeeding longtime leader William Clark, who announced his retirement last fall. Hawkins most recently served the dual role of executive director of Sojourner House at PathStone and Wilson Commencement Park. Under her leadership, giving was increased and more than $640,000 was secured in government grants and donations.

“We are fully confident that Dr. Hawkins can pick up the baton where current CEO William G. Clark leaves off,” Urban League officials said in a statement Thursday. “Dr. Hawkins has a wealth of experience in nonprofit management. Her experience, couple with her passion, will continue to lead ULR to new levels.”

Hawkins has a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Syracuse University and a master of science degree in strategic leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College. She earned her doctor of education in executive leadership from St. John Fisher College.

In her new role, Hawkins will be charged with continuing Urban League’s mission to assist African-Americans, Latinos, the poor and other disadvantaged to secure economic self-reliance, parity and power and civil rights.

Clark’s career at the Urban League began 37 years ago when he was named chief financial officer, overseeing the agency’s annual operating budget and Salute to Black Scholars Endowment Fund. In 1983, he was promoted to vice president of finance and administration and also served as chief program officer and personnel administrator.

On Jan. 1, 1994, Clark was named interim president and CEO, replacing former Rochester Mayor William Johnson, who had led the agency since the early 1970s. On June 27 of that year Clark was confirmed as president and CEO.

During his time with the Urban League, Clark saw the organization’s annual operating budget increase to more than $6 million per year. He was instrumental in the purchase of the league’s headquarters at 265 N. Clinton Ave., as well as the $750,000 capital campaign to renovate the building. Through his leadership, the Urban League has served tens of thousands of Rochesterians.

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