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Sonja Stills becomes 1st female league commissioner in HBCU D-I history

Sonja Stills becomes 1st female league commissioner in HBCU D-I history
SONJA STILLS/The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference named Sonja Stills the league’s next commissioner effective Jan. 1, 2022. She is the first female commissioner of any Division I HBCU league. (Photo credit: Matthew L. Smith, MEAC)

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has announced its next commissioner.

On Oct. 26, the league announced Sonja Stills will become the first female commissioner in MEAC and HBCU Division I history on Jan. 1, 2022.

“I’m honored to be named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s next Commissioner,” Stills said in the announcement’s release. “I’ve learned a great deal in my tenure with the conference and look forward to continuing the MEAC’s history of excellence. Thank you to the MEAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors for this opportunity and thank you to Commissioner Dr. Dennis E. Thomas for your leadership and mentorship over the past 19 years.”

Stills received her Master of Arts in Counseling degree from Hampton in 1996. Later in her career, she served as Hampton’s Coordinator of Academic Support for four years.

“When we started the search process, my colleagues and I were clear-eyed,” Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University and chair of the MEAC Presidents and Chancellors Search Committee, said in the press release. “We needed bold leadership for a new day in Division I sports and a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference that needed to take its rightful place in the NCAA. In Commissioner-elect Stills, we hit the mark squarely – determined, durable, and able to lead a paradigmatic shift in our conference and across the collegiate athletic landscape.”

The historic hire of Stills was a promotion, as she’s currently the Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer of the MEAC. Stills also took charge of the conference’s new initiative by becoming the conference’s director of Esports, which launched in the summer of 2020.

Stills has increased the MEAC’s brand visibility over the last 19 years, the press release reads. In previous positions, she negotiated corporate partnerships with iHeartRadio, Home Depot, Harley-Davidson and the US Marines among others.

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