Former U.S. Representative Louis Stokes (D-Ohio), who served as chair of the House Select Committee on Assassinations that investigated the murders of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., will speak at SUNY Buffalo State on Monday, August 11, at 7:00 p.m. in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall.
Stokes will deliver the keynote address during the Upward Bound Summer Program Awards Banquet that recognizes Buffalo high school students who completed the residence program on campus. Stokes also will receive the Hal D. Payne Educational Opportunity Lifetime Service Award. Established in 2013 to honor a leader who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing educational opportunities for college students, the award is named for Hal Payne, vice president for student affairs at Buffalo State.
During his tenure in the House of Representatives, Stokes spearheaded funding for federal student aid programs and education initiatives such as TRIO, which is made up of eight programs for low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress academically from middle school through post-baccalaureate programs. Buffalo State’s Upward Bound, which serves 90 Buffalo ninth through 12th graders annually, is one TRIO program.
"If you look back on Congressman Stokes’ illustrious career, you can see he has done so much for education," said Don Patterson, director of Buffalo State’s Upward Bound program. "He was really a public servant, working on the forefront of issues relating to education for disadvantaged young people. He served as the first African American in many roles in Congress and should greatly inspire the diverse group of students who participated this summer in Upward Bound."
Upward Bound includes a mix of tutoring, afterschool programming, and a six-week summer residence that revolves around instruction in core academic subjects from certified Buffalo public school teachers.
"This summer was excellent," Patterson said. "Four of our former Upward Bound participants served as residence counselors, including one who is now attending law school."
The goal of Upward Bound is to prepare students for college and an impressive 90 percent of participants enroll in college after graduation from high school, including several at Buffalo State.