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Transition ahead for UMES’ Senior Woman Athletic Administrator

  • Mother, Athlete, Senior Woman Administrator: Meet Neema Connor

    Tuesday, March 26, 2019
    Neema Connor

    A willing servant and hesitant interviewee, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's Neema Connor reflects on her nearly two decades at this historically black land-grant institution. 

    Always one to have an encouraging word and a positive attitude, Connor is known for working behind the scenes without fanfare and her infectious “Hey darling!” greeting that is sure to bring a smile to the face of those with whom she has contact. 

    Connor joined the UMES staff in 2001 as a Graduate Assistant (academic advising) in the university's athletics department, and rose through the ranks to where today she is Associate Athletics Director for Compliance/Senior Woman Administrator.

    She holds a Master's in criminology and criminal justice (UMES 2004), a degree she thought at the time would lead to working in the juvenile court system. Instead, the former middle-distance track athlete pivoted to helping the next generation of student-athletes.

    Connor, a Guyana native who is now a United States citizen, channeled her goals of helping the youth in filling several roles over her 17 years of service, which included assistant to the athletic director, coordinator of student athlete services and assistant (NCAA) compliance officer. 

    Neema, who will relocate to San Antonio, TX at the end of the spring 2019 semester, describes this upcoming transition as “overwhelming.” 

    “I hope those who have had encounters with me will take away a positive attitude, respect for people, and commitment to the process. I'm all in,” Connor said.

    The senior woman administrator says her various roles in the athletic department aided her in developing her leadership skills, flexibility, vision and creativity. 

    With a huge smile, she refers to UMES as “home.” “This is family. UMES got the best of me,” she said.

    Athletics Director Keith Davidson echoes these sentiments noting Connor's unconditional support, her way of diffusing situations, and ability to speak directly to the point. 

    “Neema's impact here is immeasurable. She helped empower me. She has had a major part in every decision made in this department,” Davidson said. “People tolerate me, but people love Neema,” said Davidson, who admires Connor's ability to be personable.

    Among the memories she'll take away from her time at UMES is the national success of the women's bowling team especially the first championship win in 2008 and meeting her husband, Marcellus L. Connor III. 

    Neema and Marcellus, a 2001 UMES alum, married in 2004.

    The Connors have two sons, Noah and Marcellus IV.

    By Tahja Cropper