Benita Ann Rollins‐Gay was born and raised in Urbana. She received a B.S. from Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio and a Masterʹs from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio. She taught high school and college for 19 years in Dayton, Ohio. She is the mother of three children. After the death of her husband, Robert W. Gay, Jr., she returned to Urbana. She is currently Crisis Line Coordinator at Community Elements (formerly Mental Health Center of Champaign County), which provides emotional support, information, referrals and suicide prevention. She is also a facilitator for Childrenʹs First at Family Service and a nine‐year Tax Specialist II at H & R Block. She is a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church and is president of the Usher Board, and Steward and a member of the Missionary Society where she wrote a book on the Research and Status of Black Women. She is active in NAACP, Central State Alumni Association, and NCNW. She is Vice‐President of Urbana School District 116 Board and serves as a Regional Leader of the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

Benita was featured in Difference Makers 2010: An eBlack Champaign-Urbana Publication.