Presidents setting up at Nevada State College
by Kimberly Bailey-Tureaud
It was almost 10 years ago that Nevada State College opened its doors to those seeking higher education. A decade later, the student body is making history again, with the election of two African-American males — student body president Deuvall Dorsey and vice president Bentley McDonald — to provide leadership on the Henderson campus.
“Two terms before us, there was an African-American female who was president of the student body — but this is the first time that two African-Americans males have held the seats in our student body government,” said Dorsey. With a student population of about 3,200 — 11 percent of who are African-American — Dorsey won 80 percent of the vote.
Originally from Indiana, Dorsey arrived in Las Vegas two years ago by way of North Carolina and Georgia. Working as an art curator and entrepreneur at an art gallery, he decided to assist his younger sister with her move to Las Vegas following her graduation from law school. As the single parent of a then-6-year-old, Dorsey explained to his sister that assisting with her transition meant bringing his son along; he would enroll him in school and make Vegas their home, as well.
In his late 20s, Dorsey saw the move as an opportunity to make a fresh start and pursue his dream of returning to school. There was something else, too: He also sought to find family members on his father’s side. “I am half-black and half-Mexican. My father is black, and my mother is Mexican — and I have always wanted to meet my father’s side of the family, who I have never known,” he explained. “The only thing I know is that they live in Las Vegas in the Historic Westside community. I still haven’t found them yet.”
Entering his sophomore year, Dorsey is majoring in visual media with a minor in ethnic studies. He acknowledges embodying a large population of students on the campus who are considered non traditional. “There are a lot of unconventional students who attend Nevada State College, and I’ve structured my classes around my responsibilities as a father,” he said. “When my son, who is now 8 years old, goes to school—I go to school. And when he gets out of school, I am out of school. I recently won a $2,500 Rhonda Jefferson Single Parent Scholarship from the Cultural Diversity Foundation. I was so excited.”
Serving by Dorsey’s side is McDonald, a junior now serving as vice president for a second consecutive year. His enthusiasm for the school is heartfelt.
“I love Nevada State College,” said McDonald. “It is crazy to hear me say that, because I really squeaked out of high school. Education was not something that was for me, and I was very disconnected from the curriculum. Through the engaging professors at Nevada State College, and the great cultural environment, I now have a passion for education — and my life has been transformed.”
In some very important ways, McDonald’s transformation is quite literal: Before attending Nevada State College, he was in a tragic car accident that left him a coma for a month.
“After coming out of the coma, I had to relearn the basic things in life that everyone, including myself might take for granted,” he said. “I had to learn how to walk, talk and learn my ABCs all over again. The hardest thing was becoming age appropriate, but I did it because of the great people in my life, and the special therapist who helped me. This is the reason I am majoring in psychology and minoring in communications. I hope to one day become an occupational therapist and help others like others helped me. I would love to return that to the community.”
While serving on campus, both men share a goal of boosting its reputation and improving facilities at a school already world-renowned for its nursing program. Their mission, they say, is to ensure that the new centralized buildings on campus are functional for students, and to support efforts to raise awareness of the excellent scholarship, faculty and administration available at the school.
Once that service ends, the future will begin again.
“After I graduate from Nevada State College, I hope to be underwritten by an Ivy League university to travel the world in order to answer one question that uplifts humanity,” said Dorsey. “The goal is to earn my Ph.D in anthropology. My son will also go with me to see and experience what the world has to offer.”