Urban Male Leadership Program


Michael A. Deas, L.M.S.W., Director

Mr. Deas was appointed Director of The Urban Male Leadership Program (UMLP) at Lehman College in August of 2008. He continues to create an abundance of program awareness across the Lehman campus as well as other Black Male Initiative campuses. Always putting the needs of the student first, he has developed a program to strengthen academic skills, personal development and character enrichment.

Prior to Mr. Deas’ appointment as Director of the UMLP, he was the New York City Director of Social Work for the Administration for Children’s Services Juvenile Justice Initiative. He is an Adjunct Professor at Herbert H. Lehman College (African and African American Studies Department) and at The College of New Rochelle (Social Work Department). In 2006 he became the Recipient of the Adjunct Excellence in Teaching Award at Lehman College. Mr. Deas is a skilled orator, who has often delivered speeches at Lehman College’s Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy celebration.

Michael Deas, the director of Lehman’s Urban Male Leadership Program (UMLP) was recently honored by the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, as a leader who has made significant social and educational contributions to the city. Director Deas was recognized alongside luminaries such as former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, newly elected Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie, and keynote speaker, State Senator Ruth Hassel-Thompson. The recognition is part of the chamber’s African-American heritage celebration, an annual event honoring leading African-American men and women for their dedication to the community.

Michael Deas earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Lehman College and holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Fordham University. Mr. Deas has a long history working in public and private agencies providing support and services for children and families. Additionally, he serves as a motivational speaker, and is a U.S. Army Disabled Veteran.

Cleveland E. Beckett, Jr., Assistant Director

Mr. Cleveland E. Beckett, Jr. has joined the Urban Male Leadership Program as a Program Coordinator in August 2015. Mr. Beckett graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude, in Political Science from Morris Brown College.  He received his Master’s in Public Administration from New York University, with a specialization in Financial Management and Public Finance. Mr. Beckett possesses substantive experience in the areas of program management and external relations within the governmental and not-for-profit sectors. He is dedicated and actively engaged in mentoring relationships, to prepare young people for academic achievement and leadership.

Diana Figueroa, Program Coordinator

Diana Figueroa has eight years of experience working at the New York City Council. She served as City Hall Office Manager at the New York City Council, 12th District. Ms. Figueroa was responsible for the daily management of the City Hall Office and facilitating district budget funding requests. The position required her to interface with City Council Central Staff and provide technical assistance to community organizations on Council discretionary funding for youth, seniors, and cultural programs. Her attention to detail, technical, and interpersonal skills, and ability to handle multiple professional assignments and special projects greatly benefited the Council Office, its several highly visible activities, and over 150,000 district residents. Diana earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government in May 2004 and a Masters of Public Administration-Inspector General in May 2007, both from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

David Tavarez, Mentorship Coordiantor

David Tavarez is a recent Lehman College graduate, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business & Human Resource Management in May 2014. While at Lehman he excelled both in and outside the classroom volunteering as an ambassador and a mentor for the Urban Male Leadership Program since 2010. David was a Lehman L.I.F.E. (Leaders Involved for Everyone) member performing community service in and outside of his local community, including Caimito, San Juan, Puerto Rico and El Progreso, Honduras. Mr. Tavarez remains an active part of his community, participating in Community Service programs such as The Bronx is Blooming, 2013 ING NYC Marathon & 2014 NYC Half Marathon Fluid Stations, and POTS (Part of the Solution).

Mr. Tavarez has received various awards, including The CUNY Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Leadership Award for 2013-2014, Champion of Service Award for 2013-2014, Outstanding Leadership in Service by a Graduating Senior for 2013-2014 presented, The Urban Male Leader of the Year award in 2012 and Most Outstanding Workshop Leader for 2012-2013. Mr. Tavarez was also selected as one of five Lehman College recipients to receive the 2014 Bronx Dominican Day Parade Scholarship.

Brenia De La Cruz, Academic Intervention and Success Coordinator

Brenia De La Cruz is the Mentorship Coordinator for the Urban Male Leadership Program. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Services Administration from Lehman College, and is in pursuit of her Master’s in Public Health with Lehman College under the CUNY School of Public Health. Brenia De La Cruz is on the Board of Directors for the Lehman Alumni Association and Chairperson to the Student Relations Committee. She is a former VP of Education for Toastmasters International and part of the Public Health Association of New York. In addition, Brenia has a passion to empower and motivate students to be leaders by being role models in their community.

Michael DeJesus, Outreach and Diversity Recruiter

Michael DeJesus has been an ambassador and mentor of the Urban Male Leadership Program at Lehman College since 2014. He was inducted into the program in May 2014 during the Annual Induction and Awards Ceremony. He is also currently a Student College Senator. In May 2015, Mr. DeJesus received the highest award of the program The Urban Male Leader of the Year for his commitment and excellence both in and out the classroom, including his dedicated service to fellow peers with continuous academic outreach, motivation and leadership. Mr. DeJesus has also been very active on Lehman College, participating in community services with The Office Community Engagement and New Student Programs.  Mr. DeJesus is very passionate helping the inner city youth to purse their higher education and helping them reach their full potential. Mr. DeJesus is a current Lehman College student pursing a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition. 





Last modified: Mar 29, 2016