The Chicago Inter-Alumni Council of the United Negro College Fund recently honored Joliet’s Betty Mahone with its Legacy Award during its Old School Party Fundraiser.
The event, held at Harrah’s Casino in Joliet, aims to benefit students in higher education. Several hundred guests including 14 of Mahone’s personal friends from her church, sorority, as well as her husband came out to show their support.
“I feel very honored by,” Mahone said. “It’s not something I earned alone, it’s with the help of others.”
Mahone is a retired Joliet Central teacher whose efforts helped spear head the creation of what is now called, “The Betty Mahone Joliet-Area Black College Fair.”
Mahone said she thinks she’s been bestowed with the Legacy Award “because of the work I’ve done in the community, bringing a black college fair to Joliet.”
Mahone decided to start the fair 25 years ago after seeing the need in the community.
At the time, her son was conducting a search for schools in higher education and she noticed the lack of historically black colleges being represented.
“Most historically black colleges are in the south,” Mahone said. “Unless students have relatives in the south, they don’t know what’s available to them.”
When Mahone was teaching at Joliet Central High School years ago, she talked to the principal about the void. That’s when it was decided they would start a black college fair.
This year marks the black college fair’s 25th anniversary, and Mahone still helps with the planning for the annual fall event.
“It’s something that’s dear to my heart,” Mahone said. “It’s a great benefit to the community.”
Mahone said seeing the community come together to support the youth is very important.
Chicago Inter-Alumni Council president Brianna Pulliam said Mahone “has created a legacy that has impacted thousands of students in the Joliet area and beyond.”
“She has given a spotlight to historically black colleges and universities that has made a significant difference to all that have been exposed.”