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Sheila J. Nickson

She was born in Buffalo, NY.
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Sheila J. Nickson is a native Buffalonian. Her family has lived in Buffalo since 1834. She attends St. Philip's Episcopal Church where over six generations of her family have been members since the founding of the church in the late 1800s. She has two sons, Stephen and Rodrick and two grandchildren, Alannah and Myles. Her early formal education began at P.S. #17 and Lafayette High where she was taught by many of the same teachers who taught her mother.

She went on to Buffalo State College when it was still the Buffalo Teachers College. Returning as an employee in the late sixties, Sheila joined the Chemistry Department professional staff. Her next position at Buffalo State College was Director of Affirmative Action . In the early 1970's Sheila served as statewide chair of the State University of New York (SUNY) Women's Caucus and recognized the need for an organization to respond to the needs of Black Faculty and Staff. She organized the SUNY Black Faculty and Staff Association statewide as well as the Chapter at Buffalo State College.

Sheila was also involved in other SUNY-wide activities while on leave from Buffalo State College. She worked in Albany with Chancellor Boyer and Chancellor Wharton. At SUNY Central, Sheila continued advocacy activities for affirmative action programs and initiatives and was active in forming the national affirmative action organization. Moreover, she worked with Buffalo State's Educational Opportunity Program and International Education officers and initiated a study tour to Senegal (West Africa). Sheila's ten years of tours and other efforts on behalf of Malika Village in West Africa led to their naming the Women's Social Center in the Malika Village after her. She continues to work on behalf of her adopted Malika Family.

Over the years, Sheila's community activities have paralleled her campus involvement including such activities as the BUILD Education Subcommittee; the Committee for Community Politics; founding member of the Northern Region Black Political Caucus and appointment by former Governor Mario Cuomo to the New York State Human Rights Advisory Council.

She also served on the National Urban League's Educational Advisory Council for five years and is past National President of the American Association for Affirmative Action. She was a founding member of the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier and served on the AA and R Committee of the United Way. She belongs to the National Women's Political Caucus, National Organization of Women (NOW), the Executive Board of the SUNY Black Faculty Association, Western New York Council for African Relief, PUSH, and St. Philip's Episcopal Church Women. Sheila served as Vice President of the Boards of Directors of the YWCA as well as the Girl Scouts of Buffalo and Erie County. She is a founding member of the Black Leadership Forum and currently serves as president of the Western New York M.L. King Commission.

She has received numerous awards for her commitment to human rights, including a citation from Governor Carey; a proclamation from Coleman Young; citations from the County and City of Buffalo for her community efforts; awards from the SUNY Affirmative Action Advisory Council; the American Association for Affirmative Action; the Black Leadership Forum; the Black Educators Association; the AKA Award of acknowledgment for her involvement in global issues; the outstanding service award from the Black Faculty and Staff Association at Buffalo State College and the National Alliance of Black School Educators Award of Meritorious Service as well as the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club's National Award for Meritorious Service.

Sheila has been listed in Who's Who in America for five years and when asked about her philosophy, she explained that, "Our family has a tradition of service. We were taught that when you are fortunate, you must give something back. I have been very fortunate because I learned the joy of giving at an early age. The more I have given, the more I've received. I'm a wealthy woman - not in dollars, but in what really counts. Each of us, as individuals, can make a difference. I believe we are really better than we believe and behave. Peace, Love and Progress, Always."