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Dr. Celena Mondie-Milner Class of '86: A Legacy of Excellence from Baldwin High to the World Stage

Updated: Mar 20

Celena Mondie-Milner, a proud alumna of Baldwin High School, graduated in 1986 with a wealth of cherished memories from her time at the school, embarking on a journey that seamlessly blends academic achievement, athletic prowess, and a commitment to educational leadership. Her story is a testament to the transformative power of education and the enduring impact of a close-knit community. "I love the teachers there. The greatest sense of accomplishment was always valued and appreciated at Baldwin High School." This nurturing environment allowed her to believe in her capabilities, fostering a mindset that she carried forward throughout her life.

Mondie-Milner's high school days saw her thrive in sports, particularly as a sprinter in track and field. The camaraderie and triumph of being part of a relay team that secured a state championship title left indelible memories. Little did she know that these early victories were a prelude to an illustrious athletic career.

At the University of Illinois, she became an 18-time All-American and a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten Conference. Her dominance as a sprinter earned her 17 individual and relay titles. Setting records in the 55 meters, 200 meters, and 300 yards indoor, as well as the 200 meters and 400 meters outdoor, she etched her name in the annals of Illinois track and field history.

A four-year All-Big Ten selection, Celena's accolades include being named Athlete of the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 1990. She secured second place in the 100 meters at the 1990 NCAA Outdoor Championships and third in the 200 meters. Celena set Big Ten records in outdoor events and was a key member of the record-setting 4x400-meter relay team.

"Don't give up, be resilient, be dedicated, put in the hard work necessary, and the rewards will certainly come to fruition."

Mondie-Milner's academic journey at Baldwin included classes in creative writing, poetry, and literature, which ignited her passion for storytelling. She also acknowledges the unexpected impact of a typing class, "One of my goals was earning a PhD, and that allowed me to actually get my PhD accomplished efficiently and quickly." These seemingly small experiences turned out to be pivotal in her academic success, helping Dr. Mondie-Milner earn her PhD from the University of Mercer.

Mondie-Milner's athletic prowess extended beyond collegiate competitions. She represented the United States at the 1997 World Championships and clinched a gold medal at the 1995 World Championships as a member of the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team. These experiences allowed her to see parts of the world and instilled a deep sense of pride in representing her hometown on the global stage.

Transitioning seamlessly from the world of athletics to educational leadership, Mondie-Milner currently serves as Associate Vice President for Strategy and New Student Support at the University of Texas in Austin. In this role, she oversees new student services, Texas parents, and assessment and data analytics, welcoming over 10,000 students and their families each year. Family values, instilled by her parents, continue to shape Mondie-Milner's personal and professional life. Married for over two decades, she and her husband, Walker, an NCAA all-american in football and national national champion in track and field at Louisiana State University, and former NFL player, are raising their son, Jase, who has pursuing passions in athletics and science.

Her advice to current and future students echoes the values instilled in her at Baldwin High School: "Don't give up, be resilient, be dedicated, put in the hard work necessary, and the rewards will certainly come to fruition."

Celena Mondie-Milner's story is one of resilience, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. From the halls of Baldwin High School to the world stage, she continues to inspire others to dream big, work hard, and transform challenges into triumphs.

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