Charlene Coles Newkirk

Profile Updated: May 22, 2024
Charlene Coles
Charlene Coles


Charlene Coles


Charlene Coles


Yes! Attending Reunion
Residing In Munhall, PA USA
Spouse/Partner Charles Newkirk
Homepage View Website
Occupation Southeast Region President, Community College of Allegheny County.
Children Caitlyn, born 1987

5.22.24 update

I told some folks that I would try to come to the reunion and had looked forward to it since I was Dean at Oberlin, but our daughter got married on Saturday and I was exposed to Covid 19, despite having faithfully taken shots on time every time. I am disappointed but I hope you all have a memorable and joyous time.

My advice is to be careful in crowds and wear a mask.

I serve as the Southeast Region President at The Community College of Allegheny County for the past 15 years and love it. This is where I grew up and I am glad to serve students who are mostly first generation part time students. This is my 8th college where I served as a college administrator and faculty member. I have been a dean at Florida State University, McDaniel College, Oberlin College, Arizona State University, Associate Vice President of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Vice President and Dean at the College of Southern Maryland and now here in Pittsburgh. I am looking forward to retiring soon and moving back to Maryland or Delaware.

School Story

I was the production manager for Pseukay Reperatory Theatre so I had the good fortune to hang out with the very cool artists, but didn’t have to take the risk of being on stage totally nude and not knowing why or how it fit into what we were trying to do. I love being part of making art though. It inspired me to want to be in a performative profession. Little did I understand that even though I went to law school and passed the bar, as a young black woman in Pittsburgh, I couldn’t find a job in my field or the mentoring that I needed to start my own firm. So I went into higher ed instead. I love my time serving college students for 45 years, across the country and I know my small part has made a huge difference in the lives of many first gen students and their families.

Likelihood of attending the 50th Reunion

Sorry, no

Did you spend a semester (or more) away from Oberlin before graduating?

I spent a summer with friends and faculty from Oberlin in Nigeria and Ghana. It was a non credit experience. I was a first generation college student, so to have the opportunity to go to Africa with my peers was an amazing growth experience for me. Dr. Fuller found the money to support us and I was so grateful. Thanks Bob (we called him Bob! Who could say that about their college president but us??) I remember hanging my Oberlin degree in my current office 15 years ago and looking at the signature. I wondered where was Bob when I graduated and why didn’t he sign my degree?😂😂

What do you remember about your Winter Term projects?

One winter term, about ten students from Pseukay went to New Jersey in the back of U-Haul vans to perform at Rutgers. We stayed in the dorms. Everyday, we rehearsed at the University. When we performed, we had a standing ovation from the students at Rutgers. It’s was an incredible moment for all of us. A year later, our lead and director left Oberlin and went back to New Jersey to work as a faculty member. A few years later, he became a big star in the Star Trek universe and as a detective on a television show. But that winter term project really was pivotal for all of us and I look back fondly on that experience.

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