Hakiem Coles ’07
Alumni Service Award Citation
Presented April 29, 2022
Read the acceptance speech.
The Alumni Service Award is presented for outstanding volunteer service to The Shipley School by an alumna or alumnus as demonstrated by strong loyalty, exceptional contributions of time and effort, and personal commitment to the advancement of the School’s mission.
Hakiem “Hak” Coles graduated from Shipley in 2007 and went on to the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in History.
Hak has worked in higher education for almost eight years at Pennco Tech, a trade school with locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is currently the Director of Education for the Bristol, PA, campus, where, as the youngest and only Black administrator, he supervises the teaching and learning experience for dozens of faculty members and over 400 students.
Outside of work, Hak divides his time between family and volunteer service as an active member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. At Shipley, he is a member of the Governing Body of the Black Alumni Association, which he helped found in 2020. In addition, he is leading fundraising efforts to establish a named endowed fund, which will support experiences aimed at educating students about American history and culture through the lens of African-American contributions.
In recognition of Hak’s steadfast commitment to helping Shipley create a fully culturally sustaining and inclusive environment, the Alumni Council has named him this year’s recipient of the Alumni Service Award.
First and foremost, I would like to thank Shipley for recognizing my service to the School in the form of this award. It means a lot to me to be in front of all of you right now. Over the past year, I did not imagine this would be the result of my work. The support that I have received from the Shipley community over the last year has been fantastic and has made it easy for me to stay committed to the work that will continue to be done on this campus as time goes on. As a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity since the fall of 2008, I am no stranger to service for others and trying to do my part in being a changemaker in my community. That is something that was instilled in me well before I arrived on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus in 2007. I have always been a firm believer in helping people and getting joy from seeing them accomplish the goals that they set forth for themselves.
I stand in front of all of you today as I am still striving to achieve a goal that the Black Alumni Association began working towards over a year ago. That goal is establishing an endowed fund on this campus that will help provide educational opportunities for the entire campus to connect with the Black community and our shared history. I am still speechless about how welcoming the Shipley community has been towards this initiative. Current and former Shipley teachers and parents have donated to this cause and without their help we would not be able to say that we have raised over $56,000 towards our goal of $100,000.
My former classmates and other alumni spanning all the way back to the 1960s have banded together with me and shown immense support towards this initiative as well. That is really what Shipley is all about and why I think this is such an amazing school. Whether these 118 individuals knew me personally or not they supported our initiative and I am forever indebted to them all because it has validated that people believe in the work that we are trying to accomplish on the same campus that has changed all of our lives just as it is changing the lives of current students. We are all fortunate to have walked these halls at some point in our lives and I think it is truly important to stay involved in any way possible to enhance the Shipley experience for all. This School has produced some of America’s finest in their respective fields and that will never change. Go Gators !