The Hotchkiss Alumni Association Board of Governors recently celebrated BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) alumni during a special two-day event on The Hotchkiss School campus in Lakeville, CT, and chose that special occasion to honor Patricia Redd Johnson, former Senior Associate Dean of admission, Director of Multicultural Programs, and Advisor of the Black and Hispanic Student Alliance. Highlighting the event was the heart-warming announcement that a scholarship in her name was established, with alumni and friends raising more than $235,000. The Patricia Redd Johnson Scholarship was created by a gift from Andre Swanston '99 and it is a permanent endowment that supports students receiving financial assistance from The Hotchkiss School.
According to Swanston, the creation of a scholarship is an apropos tribute to her impact on students’ lives, including his own. “Ms. Johnson was the most influential person in getting me and many other diverse students from across the country and the world to attend Hotchkiss. She told me it would change my life, and it did!” he says. “I feel a sense of obligation to pass that good will forward, and couldn’t think of a better way to honor the legacy and impact of Patricia Redd Johnson than to start a scholarship in her name to help afford the Hotchkiss opportunity to aspiring students for decades to come.”
Johnson was raised in Philadelphia, PA and holds an A.B. degree from Lincoln University, an M.S. from City University of New York, an M.A. from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, an M.A. from Middlebury College, and a certificate from Exeter College at Oxford University earning an Elizabeth Treadwell Fellowship from the English Speaking Union. Before joining the Hotchkiss faculty in 1994 she was an admissions officer who interviewed students while she attended Harvard Graduate School of Education. She served as director of admissions at The Dalton School in New York City.
Johnson holds an A.B. degree from Lincoln University, an M.A. from City University of New York, an M.A. from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, and an M.A. from Middlebury College. Before joining the Hotchkiss faculty in 1994 she was an admissions officer who interviewed students while she attended Harvard and served as Director of Admissions at The Dalton School in New York City.
Recruiting for Hotchkiss at school fairs, high schools, and special programs around the world, she enjoyed meeting prospective students and hearing about their ideas, value systems, and their desire to do something with their lives. And the students she met sensed from the start that this outgoing, upbeat woman was genuinely interested in them. “I remember the day she interviewed me in middle school,” said Brandon Ortiz ’14 when she retired in 2014. “It was after classes, and I was extremely unprepared and under-dressed. But none of that mattered to Ms. Johnson. She took the time during our interview to get to know me and my story. Upon entering Hotchkiss, she welcomed me with open arms and the most caring and warm heart. She made sure every time we crossed paths that I was okay and was becoming accustomed to the Hotchkiss life. She is my Hotchkiss mother in every sense of the word.”
In paying tribute to Johnson at the BIPOC reunion, Nailah Ellis ’00 described her as someone who impacted everyone she met. “She told us dreamers that we were strong, she told us to be patient; that our success would come, and she told us to follow our passion because we will absolutely, one day, change the world,” said Ellis, adding “I think of a leader, a protector, an innovator, and at the end of it all, I think of love. Ms. Pat loved us, and still loves us, and it’s reciprocal.”
The Event Committee (chaired by Nailah Ellis Timberlake '00 and including Isaac Alicea '20, Larry Braithwaite '99, Chris Cowherd '96, Sheria Smith '01, and Steven Turner '94) would like to thank everyone involved in helping to produce this important recognition of our BIPOC alumni.
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