BREAKING BARRIERS

When Kevin arrived in Quito, Ecuador, at the age of five, he was placed in first grade at a Catholic school, with all classes in Spanish.  Until grade four, Kevin experienced total immersion in education in Spanish.  He developed a great sense of Latin American culture.  He spent seven years of the next nine, growing up in Latin America, in Ecuador, Panama, and Bolivia.

 

Kevin returned to the United States.  In 1964, he entered Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, during its first year of racial integration.  The African-American high school had been closed, and most of its students were transferred to Wakefield.  Many social and community activities at the school were terminated.  Over the next three years, Kevin exercised a leadership role in reestablishing the full range of student social and cultural activities in a fully integrated environment.  His running mates for Sophomore Representative on Student Council were the first African Americans elected at Wakefield.  Kevin went on to serve as Student Council Vice-President and President.  During his presidency, the last major community activity which had been canceled because of integration - an outdoor fair known as Wakefield Day - was reestablished.  This event had previously been sponsored by adults in the community, but the Student Council itself sponsored the reestablished Wakefield Day, and it was a great success - for all students.

 

When Kevin entered the University of Virginia in the fall of 1967, there were 30 Gentile fraternities and 3 Jewish fraternities.

 

An unwritten “gentlemen’s agreement” separating the fraternities had lasted for decades, but fraternity leaders agreed it was time to eliminate the barriers.  Kevin was one of three non-Jewish students to join Phi Epsilon Pi, which previously had been all Jewish.  He became president of the 20-member pledge class and remained active with the fraternity through his four years of college and three years of law school.

 

The College at the University of Virginia was all male.  Kevin led a student effort to open the college to women students.  In his third year, he was appointed as the only undergraduate on a University committee evaluating co-education of the college.  The committee wrote a report which called for a quota system for ten years, with consideration as to equal admission after that time.  Kevin wrote a one-person minority report which called for the immediate equal admission of women.  The Student Council endorsed the minority report, which was sent to the Board of Visitors with the majority report.  Compromise ensued, which called for a two-year transitional program followed by full equal admission for women.

 

Kevin’s running mate for College Representative on Student Council was the first African-American elected from the College to the Student Council at the University of Virginia.  While on Student Council, Kevin developed a student recruiting program to encourage African-Americans to apply to the University.  Kevin served as Student Council Vice-President with the first African-American Student Council President.  Kevin led a reform movement to have the Student Council President elected by the student body, rather than by the Council.  He then ran and was elected as the first popularly-elected Student Council President at the University of Virginia.

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