A native of Georgia, Stacey Close has worked in higher education for more than 20 years. He currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Conn. Also a professor of history, Close received his Ph.D. and M.A. from The Ohio State University and B.A. from Albany State College, a HBCU in Georgia. He has taught courses focusing on African American, American, African and Southern history. In addition, Close has made paper presentations at conferences including the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, and Professional and Organizational Development Network. Close has also served as chairperson for the Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy, and Geography, director of the Center for Educational Excellence, and NCAA, Faculty Athletic Representative. A believer in mentoring and supporting students outside the classroom, Close has served as the advisor for student clubs such as ECSU’s Nubian Society and West Indian Society. In addition, he has served as a co-conference and forum organizer for the New York Africana Studies. An interim member of the Board of the Connecticut Historical Society, 2011-2012 Close received the prestigious honor as an American Council on Education Fellow. Additional honors include the NAACP’s 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut for 2013 and 2015, Eastern Connecticut State University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award, Student Club Advisor of the Year, Eastern Connecticut State University's Faculty Teaching Award.