Campus News

Betty Trout-Kelly Honored for Work with African-American Youth

Story posted March 18, 2004

Betty Trout-Kelly, Bowdoin's executive to the president for institutional diversity and equity, was honored by the Portland Post Office last month for her outstanding work with African-American youth in Greater Portland.

During the United States Postal Service's Black History Month celebration, Portland Postmaster Mike Fortunato and USPS Diversity Development Specialist Debbie Woods honored Trout-Kelly and Pastor Steve Coleman of the Williams Temple Church of God in Christ for their work with the community-based program Hard-working Youth Pursuing Excellence (HYPE). HYPE responds to the needs of African-American young people by preparing them to attain the skills necessary to succeed.

Marie Jo Felix '04, Jackie Burgo '05, and Ginette Saimprevil '04, who work with Trout-Kelly at Bowdoin, also attended the ceremony. Saimprevil spoke about the history of the HYPE program and their efforts to reach out to African-American youth.

Trout-Kelly, who is the director of HYPE, has a strong background in diversity development. She joined Bowdoin's staff in 1990, coming to Maine from the Midwest where she served academic communities in Oklahoma and Kansas. Her goal is to help young people build a healthy sense of racial and ethnic identity and to facilitate development in the areas of leadership, career goal-setting, and academic achievement.

Through the HYPE program, Trout-Kelly and Pastor Coleman encourage and support young people at Bowdoin, Williams-Temple Church, the Hyde School, and in the communities of Portland, Brunswick, Lewiston, Bath, Old Orchard Beach, and Saco.

At the ceremony, Trout-Kelly was presented with framed postal art featuring a stamp from the USPS Black Heritage Stamp Series. The stamp featured is that of Patricia Roberts Harris (1924-1985). It was issued in 2000 as the 23rd in the Black Heritage Series (a total of 27 have been issued with this year's issuance of the Paul Robeson stamp).

Patricia Roberts Harris had a long distinguished career as a lawyer, educator, and public administrator. Her career in education centered on Howard University, where she served as a full professor and as dean of the law school.

She later served in Luxembourg as the first African-American U.S. Ambassador and as an alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and Economic Commission for Europe. Harris also became the first African-American woman appointed as a member of a presidential cabinet, serving as secretary of both the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Health and Human Services.

At the Post Office ceremony, Fortunato and Woods also recognized Winston McGill, president of the Portland Chapter of the NAACP, for his efforts to promote diversity and racial harmony in the Greater Portland community.

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