Sandra Brinson has lived in Glenville her entire life. Her parents bought a home there when she was four years old and her sister still lives in the house today. Brinson, a retired Cleveland Metropolitan School District elementary school principal and special education teacher, now lives closer to Case Western Reserve University, but still in Glenville, just north of campus. “I’m always proud to say that I’m from Glenville,” she says.
Growing up, Brinson’s parents would drive her past Case Western Reserve and tell her that it was a college, but she had also heard stories that Black students weren’t welcomed. So when it came time for Brinson to attend university, she didn’t consider Case Western Reserve. Instead, Brinson earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as an Education Specialist Degree from Cleveland State University.
Shortly after Brinson and her husband moved to the home they’ve now lived in for 30 years, she started walking to campus and through University Circle. She also took her young daughter to dance lessons at the Music Settlement and to art classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art. “I started utilizing the campus in another way,” she says. “So then I started thinking to myself, ‘You didn’t go to Case [Western Reserve] but you did go to Case [Western Reserve].”
Today, as co-chair of the Neighborhood Advisory Council, Brinson says that she is learning even more about the university and she is committed to connecting the community with the university in a way that didn’t exist when she was a child. “It’s my job to represent the community to the university,” she explains. “And I want to enhance the thoughts and mind of the community, just like I did for myself. Things have changed over time and my mindset has changed—and I’m happy about that.”