Zaldwaynaka Scott Biography

President ScottZaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, Esq., unanimously elected by the Board of Trustees’ to serve as the 12th permanent president of Chicago State University, assumed the role on July 1, 2018.

President Scott oversaw the development and advancement of the CSU Strategic Plan 2020-2025, ensuring that the institution will lead with the mission of transformation for students’ lives through innovation and excellence in ethical leadership. She also supervised the launch of a historic re-brand of the University, putting into motion new brand assets and campaigns to revitalize the institution’s reputation and raise awareness among new stakeholders. President Scott is also a well-known advocate for equity in higher education, having formed and co-chaired the Equity Working Group, a body of leaders from across the education, public, private, philanthropic, and community development sectors to formulate an action plan for addressing Black student access and success in Illinois higher education.

As a distinguished business & civic leader, President Scott played an influential role in the Chicago community for over 30 years.

President Scott currently serves on the:

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Board of Directors — where she co-chairs the board’s subcommittee on diversity

United States Coast Guard Academy

Board of Trustees

Just the Beginning

Board of Directors — a nonprofit organization devoted to improving the diverse pipeline in the legal field.

President Scott in the past has served as:

Chicago Housing Authority

Chair of the Board of Trustees — the nation’s third largest housing authority

Indiana University Maurer School of Law Board of Visitors

Chicago State University Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees

Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Chapter General Counsel

Prior to her current role, President Scott was an equity partner in a national law firm with an international practice that focused on corporate internal investigations, counseling clients on regulatory compliance and crisis management. She also spent more than 16 years as a federal criminal prosecutor in the position of Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois, where she served as Chief of the General Crimes Section. Upon leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Illinois State Senate confirmed her appointment as Illinois’ first Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Governor and its public universities. In this role, she created an independent executive branch state agency from its inception, developed the United States’ first statewide ethics training platform for state government employees, and created a protocol for the investigation of claims of misconduct, waste, fraud, and abuse.

President Scott taught at some of the nation’s most competitive law schools, including Northwestern University School of Law, The University of Chicago Law School, and UIC John Marshall Law School. The Indiana University Maurer School of Law honored her with its Distinguished Service Award (2012) and selected her for induction into the Law School’s Alumni Hall of Fame (2019).

President Scott is a highly sought-after speaker and lecturer on topics related to leadership, crisis management, trial advocacy, ethics and compliance. She has received numerous awards honoring her service from organizations including the American Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the Cook County Bar Association, La Rabida Children’s Hospital and the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Chicago. She was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the Most Powerful Women in Chicago Business (2018). She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Commercial Club of Chicago. President Scott’s peers rank her among the nation’s top lawyers, resulting in her inclusion in Chambers and Partners USA, U.S. News Best Lawyers, Women in Business Law Guide, The Best Lawyers in America, Leading Lawyers 2015, Top 10 Women in Criminal Defense, and Illinois Super Lawyers.

President Scott holds a Juris Doctor from Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

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