The Coretta Scott King Center for Cultural and Intellectual Freedom at Antioch College (CSKC) will present awards to Mila Cooper and Chris Chavers ’21 during its annual Legacy Celebration which will be held virtually on Thursday, April 29, at 1 PM EDT.
Mila Cooper will be honored with the Coretta Scott King Legacy Award in recognition of her advocacy on behalf of issues of equity and social justice at Antioch College and the broader community. Chris Chalvers will receive the Coretta Scott King Justice Award for his public advocacy on behalf of issues of equity and social justice in our local communities.
The Legacy Celebration commemorates the legacy of Coretta Scott King—an Antioch College alumna from the Class of 1951—and celebrates the achievements of individuals and organizations committed to advancing social justice. This year, the celebration is co-hosted in partnership with the Celebrate! Maya Project with the theme of Sisterhood & Social Justice, honoring the life and legacy of two American giants, Coretta Scott King and Dr. Maya Angelou.
Mila Cooper serves as Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Antioch College and has held multiple leadership roles at Antioch College since 2014. In every role, Cooper has displayed unwavering commitment to students, built enduring relationships with local partners, and advocated for Antioch College in innumerable ways. During her time at Antioch, she has been dedicated to keeping equity at the forefront of the College’s agenda, and has been resolute in bringing greater access and opportunity to students.
Cooper has worked on college campuses for the past 30 years. She served as the Executive Director of the Coretta Scott King Center and created the inaugural Coretta Scott King Legacy Luncheon in 2017 and grew it into an annual event. Cooper also launched the inaugural Freedom to Vote Rally, The Antioch College Social Justice Symposium, the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, and Antioch College’s first-ever Bootcamp for Activism—an educational opportunity for students and the public to engage in activism and social change.
Before coming to Antioch, Cooper served as Director of Community Outreach and Service-Learning at Baldwin Wallace University. As an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Religion at BW, she taught the African American Religious Experience and has also taught Urban Community Engagement and a First-Year Experience course. She has extensive experience in Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Education at several institutions, including Kenyon College, Xavier University, and Penn State University. At Kenyon, she served as the Assistant Dean of Students and directed multicultural affairs and the Snowden Multicultural Center. Cooper earned the Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies and a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), a graduate certificate in nonprofit Management and Leadership from the Cleveland State University Levin College of Urban Affairs, and a Master of Divinity degree from Payne Theological Seminary. Cooper is on track to receive her Doctorate in Divinity from Payne Theological Seminary this May.
Cooper is married to Pastor Gerald A. Cooper, Esquire, and they are the grateful parents of two daughters, Antioch student Nia Patrice Cooper ’23 and 13-year-old Mariah Nicole Cooper, and grandparents to Grace Patrice.
Chris Chavers ’21 is an Antioch College student from Trotwood, OH, and is currently working to complete his self-design degree in Pre-Law and Community Engagement. Chavers is the founder of the Black Student Union at Antioch College, where he has organized food drives, advocated for Black members of the campus community, and volunteered at the Yellow Springs Senior Center. Chavers served as Community Council co-president while helping to reform one of the College’s other core governance bodies—now known as College Council—which is responsible for administrative matters. Last June, Chavers’ proposal that Juneteenth be recognized as an official holiday at Antioch College was approved by College Council.
Chavers’ Co-ops include the Transgender Law Center in Oakland, CA, working in the Communications and Development department at Antioch College, and working at the Law Office of Phillip Brigham ’97 in Chicago. Chavers has been a Miller Fellow for the Village Impact Project in Yellow Springs and a student assistant at the College’s Coretta Scott King Center. Chavers has also been involved with the “Each One, Teach One” event at Mills Lawn Elementary School in collaboration with the Coretta Scott King Center. His organizing and public advocacy started in middle school when he organized a mentoring program for his peers, and in high school, he was involved in student governance and peer mediation.
As a member of the Board of Trustees of Antioch College since 2020, Chavers is constantly asking tough questions and challenging College leadership to think deeper and look further. At every opportunity, Chavers uses his position to amplify student and staff voices and to bring greater accountability across the College, displaying skills all organizers must master in order to be effective in their work.
“We are thrilled to honor Mila and Chris. They are both courageous advocates and change agents in our community and beyond for building a racially just and equitable society,” says CSKC Executive Director Shadia Alvarez ’96.
“Given Antioch College’s commitment to deliberative democracy, diversity, and social justice, the Coretta Scott King Center at Antioch College is a vital asset to the community and campus,” says Tom Manley, Antioch College President Emeritus. “The recognition awarded to civil rights leaders is both a real and symbolic expression of this commitment and importance of the Coretta Scott King Center here.”
The 2021 Coretta Scott King Center Legacy Celebration will be livestreamed by Community Access Yellow Springs on YouTube.