OCCRL Staff and Affiliates

Leonard Irving-Thomas




Leonard Irving-Thomas

Research Associate

Leonard Irving-Thomas is a master's student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership in the College of Education, with a concentration in African American Studies. His research focuses on the radical possibilities of Black nationalist- and afro-pessimist-influenced organizing strategies in Black student-led organizations. His research is substantiated by his years serving as a scholar-practitioner at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his undergraduate degree in African-American studies while serving in a multitude of activist, policymaking, and institutional roles on and off campus.

Irving-Thomas received a 2020 Pinnacle Financial Rising Star Award for his teaching and consulting work in the area of generational wealth building for working-class Black families. From 2017 to 2019 he was recognized by and admitted into Veve Clark Scholars and The National Society of Leadership and Success for his academic and scholarly accomplishments in African-American studies.


  • M.Ed./Ph.D. student in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • B.A., African American Studies, University of California, Berkely