“Your transcript is your passport.”
That was the mantra of Horace D. Allen ’85, who returned to campus on Tuesday, Feb. 2 as the keynote speaker for the Colleges’ Ninth-Annual Academic Excellence Dinner, held annually in honor of Alger L. Adams ’32, the first African-American graduate of Hobart College and recognized as a man who laid the foundation for students to surmount major societal obstacles to attend and excel at Hobart and William Smith.
“Your transcript is what got you here,” said Allen, an entrepreneur who successfully formed a technology integration company and, with his sister, formed Team Pact, an organization aimed at improving the success of young men of color. “Growing up, the one thing I understood, from every teacher and every coach, is that when the day is all done, your transcript is your passport. It tells you where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and gives you a pretty good idea of where you’re going. The transcript is the piece that’s going to carry you.”
In addition to Adams, the Academic Excellence Dinner honors those students of color and international students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges who have had to overcome major obstacles to become academically successful.
“Alger Adams’ story inspires students to follow their dreams knowing success is more than possible,” says James Burruto, Director of Academic Opportunity Programs at Hobart and William Smith.
After the recognition of this year’s senior classes, economics and Spanish double major Elaine Aguasvivas ’10 was invited to the podium.
In light of the recognition of academic excellence and four years of hard work, Aguasvivas said that being a senior is a time that calls for reflection. “This campus is full of memories for me, full of stories to tell, of opportunities to explore. As a graduating senior, I ask the first-years, the sophomores, the juniors to never forget that everyone in this room, everyone in your dorm, everyone in this school is part of your experience at the Colleges.”
At the end of his speech, in the spirit of Adams-who graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with three majors, in Greek, English, and psychology at a time when racial stereotypes and barriers impeded many students of color nationally-Allen invited students to “think about your four years here. Then think about the 40 years your transcripts will follow you around. If you can focus on doing a great job over four years, the next 40 years are going to be a lot easier.”
Other speakers include Desislava Byanova ’10, Clifford Gardner ’10 and Jessamyn Martinez ’12.
While at the Colleges, Allen majored in economics and minored in religious studies and sociology. He was named to the Dean’s List, was a four year varsity winner in football, and one of the first African American students in the history of Hobart College named to the International Honor Society of Economics.
After graduation, Allen was recruited by IBM Corporation, where he served as a marketing representative and product manager from 1985 to 1993.
Allen co-founded Total Solutions Group, a technology integration company with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn. Total Solutions Group was recognized as the second fastest growing privately held company in the state of Minnesota by “City Business Magazine” in 1998 and Allen was recognized as one of the top 40 executives under age 40.
In 2005, he and his sister Vickie Allen founded TeamPact. The company is aimed at improving the lives of young men of color through their “Road Map to Success” program. Its objective is to compete head-to-head with dysfunctional street alternatives (i.e. drugs, gangs, crime, teen pregnancy, etc.) for America’s young men of color by providing recognition through financial and in-kind rewards for high levels of academic and extracurricular performance.
Allen serves on the board of directors of the Greater Minneapolis YMCA, Catholic Charities of the Twin Cities and Greater Minneapolis Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He is also a devoted member of the Young President’s Organization, the International Honor Society in Economics for Hobart College and the Rites of Passage Leadership Program for the Development of African American Men who are seniors in high school. Allen is currently the president of the Hobart and William Smith Afro-Latino Alumni and Alumnae Association; he served on the Colleges’ Board of Trustees from 2004-2008.