One Kentucky State University alumna has dedicated her life to public service on the state, national and international stage.
Dee Dawkins-Haigler, former Georgia state representative, earned a master’s in public administration at Kentucky State. It was here, on the Hill, that she made connections and friendships that would influence her life.
Dawkins-Haigler arrived at Kentucky State in the mid-90s. Prior to her arrival, Dawkins-Haigler had been heavily involved with the NAACP. It was during an NAACP conference that she met William Colfield Sr., a former professor at Kentucky State. Dawkins-Haigler mentioned wanting to attend grad school during a panel discussion and Cofield later said she should consider Kentucky State.
She enrolled and said her time on the Hill impacted her career greatly.
“Everyone was connected to someone who was doing something great,” Dawkins-Haigler said.
Dawkins-Haigler, her husband, Lt. Colonel David Haigler Jr., and her children moved to Frankfort.
Friends and family asked her, “why would you go to Kentucky? You don’t know a soul there.”
“Where God guides, God provides,” Dawkins-Haigler said. “We had a ready-made family once we got there.”
Members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., of which former president Mary Smith was heavily involved, were instrumental in helping her and her young family.
“The Deltas really showed up for me,” Dawkins-Haigler said.
Her influences here included Dr. Cassie Osborne, former dean of the School of Public Administration, Cofield and his wife, Virginia Cofield.
“She (Virginia Cofield) was instrumental in making my family feel welcome,” Dawkins-Haigler said.
Dawkins-Haigler said she and Sheila Stuckey, director of the Paul G. Blazer Library, remain friends to this day.
After finishing her coursework at Kentucky State, Dawkins-Haigler decided to continue her education. Her mentors at Kentucky State had earned doctorates at Clark Atlanta University, so she and her family moved to Atlanta to work on her doctoral degree.
During her doctoral work, Dawkins-Haigler felt the call to ministry. She completed seminary and began pastoring, which led to work in the political arena.
Dawkins-Haigler served as a Georgia state representative from 2008 to 2017. She is the owner of DDH & Associates and TIME 1000, an organization dedicated to helping 1000 women and minorities get elected to public office or receive board appointments. She has also trained women from Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on gender issues, health, entrepreneurship, education and running for office.
Dawkins-Haigler also founded an organization, Organization of World Leaders, dedicated to working together to build alliances for economic sustainability and growth in Africa and the diaspora. Dawkins-Haigler also works with the United Nations as an ambassador for a civil society. Throughout the year, she gives speeches and works on development throughout Africa, including taking delegations to different parts of Africa and hosting an international women’s conference.
Advocacy for children and youth impacted by poverty is also part of Dawkins-Haigler’s platform, as well as fighting against human trafficking, domestic violence and teen dating violence. This advocacy led to the production of the documentary/drama “Black Girls Die Too: The Back Page Murders.”
Dawkins-Haigler said she hopes to one day soon visit her alma mater and engage with students and leaders on campus.