In May 1961, Willis K. Bright became the first African-American student recipient of the prestigious Sullivan Award, the highest honor given to a graduating man and woman. Mr. Bright received his B.A. in Social Work in 1966 from the University of Kentucky. Bright has served as director of youth programs for Lilly Endowment Inc. in Indianapolis, Ind., which he joined in March, 1987. He also has served as program director for the Community Development Division, where he worked on youth, neighborhood revitalization and social service issues.
Bright has an extensive background in program development, especially for youth, families and economically disadvantaged people. He has been particularly involved in addressing employment issues for youth. As a practitioner and consultant in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, he has worked with organizations to develop effective human-service-delivery strategies and strong organizational capacity. Bright received his master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan in 1968. Through his activities, he has traveled to the Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, Canada, Africa and throughout the United States. Willis Bright was inducted into the College of Social Work Hall of Fame in 2003.