Wesley Robinson-McNeese, executive director of diversity initiatives for the Southern Illinois University System, died on September 18. He was 75 years old.
A native of East St. Louis, Illinois, McNeese served as an Air Force Morse Intercept Operator in Vietnam and achieved the rank of Technical Sergeant before becoming a military paramedic. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and a medical doctorate from Southern Illinois University.
Dr. McNeese joined the faculty at Southern Illinois University in 2001 and founded the Office of Diversity Multicultural and Minority Affairs.
“Dr. McNeese was a constant pioneer at the SIU School of Medicine,” noted Jerry Kruse, dean and provost for the SIU School of Medicine. “He performed the foundational work that has led to our declaration to become an anti-racist organization and to build the organizational structure necessary to achieve that end. Wes McNeese was a man who stood by his convictions, with grace and eloquence, and made the world a better place for all of us.”
Dr. McNeese, the father of eight children, also served as an ordained minister.