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Bachman and Close Among State NAACP’s “2018 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut”

Published on September 28, 2018

Bachman and Close Among State NAACP’s “2018 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut”

Stacey Close, associate vice president of equity and diversity at Eastern Connecticut State University, and Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern, were among 100 honored as the “2018 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut” on Sept. 22 by the State Conference Chapter of the NAACP. The recognition ceremony took place during a reception held at the Foxwoods Tower Premier Ballroom.

A native of Georgia, Close has worked in higher education for more than 25 years. Also a professor of history, he has taught courses that focused on African American, American, African and Southern history. Close has also served as chairperson for Eastern’s Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy and Geography; the University’s director for Center for Educational Excellence; and as NCAA faculty athletic representative. 

In addition, he has presented scholarly research at conferences such as the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History and the Professional and Organizational Development Network. Close has served as co-conference and forum organizer for the New York African Studies Association, Connecticut African American Summit and the highly acclaimed Dr. John Hope Franklin Symposium. He frequently lectures and makes presentations on Black Hartford history. In 2014, Close served as contributing editor and essayist for “African Americans in Connecticut Explored,” published by Wesleyan University Press. He has published in numerous journals and press such as the “Journal of Negro History,” “CT Explored” and “Guilford Press.”  

A believer and advocate of mentoring and supporting students outside the classroom, Close has also served as the advisor for student clubs such as Eastern’s Nubian Society and West Indian Society. In 2011-2012, Close received the prestigious honor of being an American Council on Education Fellow. Some of his other honors include Eastern’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award; Student Club Advisor of the Year;  Eastern’s Faculty Teaching Award, and “Hartford Courant Magazine’s 12 Hot Professors.” Close received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Ohio State University and B.A. from Albany State College, a HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in Georgia.

Bachman has served as Eastern’s public relations officer with distinction for more than 27 years. He is responsible for helping to create, manage, preserve and enhance the image of Eastern and its mission, and to market the University to its many publics. Bachman has successfully written and produced award-winning publications for Eastern’s internal and external audiences; written thousands of press releases and hundreds of feature stories; and placed hundreds of Eastern’s students, faculty and staff on radio and television news and public affairs programs in Connecticut, the region and major national media. The 2003 edition of Eastern Returns, on which Bachman served as managing editor, won the “Second Best in the Nation” Award by the Independent Newspaper Publishers of America (INPA) by the INPA. Two years earlier in 2001, Eastern Returns won the INPA’s “Best in the Nation” Award.” Bachman also works to help align social media with the University’s overall marketing goals.

Over the years, Bachman has successfully enhanced student writing. At Eastern’s May 2013 Commencement, Nana Owusu-Agyemang, a senior from Ghana who presented the Senior Class Address, recognized Bachman as “a wonderful boss,” a recognition Bachman described as his “greatest honor.” In April 2012, at the Connecticut State University System’s Barnard Scholars Banquet, student winner Kate Harner described Bachman as “one the most influential people in her life during her last three years at Eastern,” as she changed her career goal of teaching English to public relations, based on what she “learned about the impact of public relations and all the fun she had learning public relations from Mr. Bachman.”

At Eastern, Bachman also helps to establish mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations that have increased public awareness of Eastern as a valuable resource to the state of Connecticut and beyond. In addition, he has been named the recipient of many awards and honors; and nominated for many others for his professional and public service. Some include the Collin Bennett/Marcus Garvey Award; the Prince Hall Free Masons of Connecticut Willie B. McClendon and David G. Carter Student Advocacy and Community Service Award; the Hartford Enterprise Zone Association’s Service to Community Award; the CASE Century Award; Eastern’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award; and the Connecticut Library Association’s “News Media Award.” 

Before Eastern, Bachman had a distinguished career as reporter, editor and news producer at several major-market radio and television stations in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Hartford. Bachman was the first African American radio/television reporter for KWWL-Radio/TV (1967-69) in Waterloo, IA. In 1970, he simultaneously served as “Black Scholar in Residence” at Wartburg Theological Seminary and as the first African American director of the Commission on Human Rights in Dubuque, IA. In 1977, WTOP All-News Radio (Washington, D.C.) nominated Bachman for a George Peabody Award, the world’s oldest and most prestigious prize in electronic media for researching, writing, and producing an eight-part series on the highly celebrated Allan Bakke affirmative action case. He was nominated as the “Washington Journalist of the Year” by the Capitol Press Club.

Bachman earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and Rhetoric at the University of Northern Iowa and his Master of Professional Studies degree in African and African American Studies at Cornell University.