North Central News

MLK Prayer Breakfast keynote is North Central administrator, alumna

Jan 10, 2017

Usually the one who helps recruit speakers for North Central College’s annual Prayer Breakfast during Martin Luther King Jr. Week, Lisa Horton ’94 Pettaway M ’00 is this year’s speaker. The steering committee she serves with selected her to address the campus community Jan. 16.

After receiving her degree in sociology and theatre, Pettaway began working at North Central College in 1995, then earned her MBA with a multicultural marketing concentration. She was promoted to director of the North Central College Fund and now leads a team of development professionals responsible for growing the College’s unrestricted giving and managing its fundraising campaigns.

Pettaway has been involved in the MLK Week steering committee since its beginning. Though working directly with students does not officially fall under the umbrella of her title, her passion for student development, success and advocacy has led her to work closely with multicultural affairs, and her doors are always open to students.

“I just try to be an advocate or reference for our students of color,” says Pettaway. “I always like to be a resource – a person who will listen, a person who will offer my thoughts or my advice to students or even just share my experiences. Because, in many instances, even though I’m now 20-plus years removed, a lot of times there’s a similarity in that.”

Originally from Gary, Ind., Pettaway acknowledges the culture shock of moving to Naperville as a young 18-year-old African American student in the ’90s. In her keynote address, she will discuss these experiences as both a student and administrator during the past 20 years. She also will discuss her interactions with students and how these experiences have made an impact, she hopes, for the better.

“An impact on one, two, three students along the way is a significant thing,” says Pettaway. “You impact one person, and another person impacts one person, and another person impacts another person. And you can have a whole lot of impact.”

Additionally, Pettaway serves as the College’s liaison for INROADS, a top 10 tier internship program for the development of underserved youth for corporate and community leadership. In recognition of her leadership and service, she accepted the INROADS’ University Partner Award for the Great Lakes Region in 2013 on behalf of the College.

Open to the campus community, the Prayer Breakfast will take place at 7 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, in the Harold and Eva White Activities Center. Reservations are required; contact Chelsea Armstrong at 630-637-5151 or

By Stephanie Passialis ’17