About Donda West (Williams)
Although widely known as the mother of Kanye, Dr. Donda West was a noted scholar and an active college professor for 31 years. She left the profession in 2004 to assist with Kanye's career, according to her biography on the Web site of the Kanye West Foundation, an educational nonprofit of which she was chair. She was also chief executive of West Brands, the parent company of her son's businesses.
She was born Donda Williams on July 12, 1949, the 4th child to Portwood and Lucille E. Williams. Her early education was at Culbertson and Dunbar Elementary Schools, F.D. Moon Jr. High School, and Douglass High School wehre she graduated in 1967.
West began her teaching career in the early 1970s at Morris Brown College in Atlanta and began working at Chicago State University in 1980, according to the site. She was also a Fulbright Scholar and the winner of other awards. West raised Kanye in the Chicago area along with her husband, Ray, from whom she separated when Kanye was 3. CSU is planning a memorial service for later this week, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. University spokeswoman Robyn Wheeler reportedly said Monday that the event "will really be a celebration of her life." She added, "We are bringing together a number of faculty members who knew her well to organize an upbeat celebration."
She published a book dedicated to her son titled "Raising Kanye: Life Lessons From the Mother of a Hip-Hop Star." The book and subsequent interviews have left little question about the source of Kanye's outspoken nature.
On Saturday, November 10, 2007, West passed away at the age of 58. Her son was reported in London at the time.