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Emeritus professor Diane Newby remembered

Teacher education faculty leaves lasting impact on campus


Diane Newby. (Courtesy Photo)

Emeritus professor Diane Newby died on Jan. 15, 2019 at age 76. 

Newby worked at Central Michigan University from 1991-2008 as a professor for the teacher education and professional development program. Her specialty was teaching social studies and incorporating technology into the classroom.

While she was at CMU, she stepped outside of the classroom and made a big impact on campus, her husband, Robert Newby said. The couple got married in 1991, after meeting in 1984. Together, they educated students at CMU for over a decade. 

Most notably during her time at CMU, she was the recipient of a $1.05 million Kellogg’s Grant, which she used to restructure a school in Detroit. 

“She was a mover and a shaker when she was on campus,” her husband said. “There’s no question in my mind that the university benefitted from her presence.”

At one point during her CMU career, Diane Newby balanced three different jobs as a principal at Mary McGuire Elementary in Mount Pleasant, a CMU professor and a leader at the restructured school in Detroit. 

Despite her busy schedule, she had a tremendous amount of care for her students and managed to take a group of student teachers over to Ghana for two months. 

Outside of the classroom, Newby worked to make a difference on campus through diversity movements. 

“Years ago, in the '90s, when a lot of change in regard to diversity was taking place at CMU, she was very much a leader in that,” Robert Newby said. 

Diane served as a co-chair on the Affirmative Action Council during this time, and at one point served as co-chair on the Association of Faculty and Staff of Color. 

She didn’t stop just at the CMU community. She expanded her efforts into the Mount Pleasant School District after her son had had a poor experience in the school system. 

She was the founder of the Mount Pleasant Area Diversity Group, which was originally called Parents of Color. In the early 1990s, she and three other women formed this group, which fought for justice for their kids in the Mount Pleasant schools. 

“She’s very generous, a very pleasant personality," Robert said. "She was well-liked by everybody she was around, but she also had very strict standards in terms of the world in general. She was a big believer in justice.”

Newby was born on Nov. 26, 1942, and grew up in Washington D.C. She received her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University, a master’s degree from Howard University in 1971 and her doctorate degree in educational leadership from Western Michigan University in 1974. 

After her schooling, she worked for various universities and school districts before coming to CMU. 

Newby is survived by her husband, her step-son and two step-daughters, her brother, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Her memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the Clark Family Funeral Chapel in Mount Pleasant.