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Blade and Fleming Elected as Trustees

Vance Blade, risk manager for the Kroger Company, and John E. Fleming, vice president of museums for the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, were elected to the Berea College Board of Trustees at the Board’s recent meeting. Both men were elected to six-year terms beginning July 1.

Blade, a native of Eminence, Ky., served on Berea’s Board as an alumni trustee from 1998-2006. He is a 1982 graduate of Berea with a degree in business administration. Blade has been employed with the Kroger Company since 1983, where has also has held positions as assistant store operations manager, food store manager, assistant distribution manager for the company’s Louisville division and minority affairs coordinator. He also is the past president of the Kroger African American Alliance.

In addition to his prior service on the Board of Trustees, Blade served as a member of Berea’s Alumni Council from 1988-1993 and 2000-2006. He received the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the College in 1983. Active in community service, Blade has served on the Commonwealth of Kentucky Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, the board of directors of the Bridgehaven Mental Health Organization, among others. He and his wife, Vivian Hairston Blade, a 1985 Berea graduate, have two children.

John Fleming, originally from Morganton, N.C., graduated in 1966 from Berea with a degree in history. In addition to earning M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Howard University, he completed the Museum Management Institute at the University of California Berkeley. Prior to joining the Cincinnati Museum Center, Fleming was founding director of the National Afro-American Museum in Wilberforce, Ohio and was the first director and chief operating officer for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He also has served as senior fellow in history for the Institute for the Study of Educational Policy, and a senior staff member of the Ohio Historical Society.

Positions he has held in the area of human rights include program analyst with the United States Civil Rights Commission and education specialist for the Kentucky Human Relations Commission. From 1967-69, Fleming served in the Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa.

Fleming serves on several boards, including vice chair of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission and the Leadership Institute Advisory Committee for the J. Paul Getty Trust. He is currently president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and is the former president of the Ohio Museums Association and the Association of African American Museums. He has produced several award-winning exhibitions, published three books and has recently completed a historical novel on growing up in a southern community in the 1950s. He has received public service and lifetime achievement awards from Berea College, the Ohio Library Association, the Association of African American Museums and the Peace Corps.

Fleming is married and has two daughters.

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