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Yesterday I was doing research for a presentation and I came across an article from The Daily Pennsylvanian in 1992.

The headline says it all.

Haskins Looks Out For Students.

The last lines, provided by alum Kevin Crump, are even more fitting.

“There is not enough time or space in a newspaper to talk about the kind of respect I have for Harold Haskins and what he has done for the black community,” he said.

Another alum shared these thoughts yesterday when we learned of your passing — “I didn’t even have a whole lot of in-person interactions and I felt covered because I knew he was there.”

That’s very much my story as well.

I often get lumped into the crew of people that you mentored as students, and I’m honored to be included in the conversation, but our relationship really took shape after I graduated. Yet, during undergrad, I felt like Penn was mine because Penn was yours. You were the navigational GPS for all of us. Even if we weren’t in your immediate circle, we were in your presence, and we knew we would be taken care of. That sense of protection and belonging can never be overstated.

As I began my professional pathway at Penn, started graduate school, shaped start ups, and launched community based projects, you became a close mentor. It was then that I got to really see your vision, and how this was fueled by your commitment to excellence, and to making the unseen a possibility. You saw talent and determination when other people stopped looking. You pushed us to believe that we were everything we needed, and more. You connected people in ways that challenged them to get themselves together and lift up somebody else. This outlook was revolutionary. It changed my life. It showed me that I wasn’t crazy after all. Or maybe I was. But it didn’t matter. Because it — whatever it is on any given day — absolutely could be done. You told me so. And you showed me how to go about it, unapologetically.

The photo above was my last time seeing you, April 2019. You made your way to campus (I believe against house orders, which is pretty much the only way the story can be told). The student in the picture, Adrian Evans IV, has been mentored by one of your mentees, Charles B. Adams, since his freshman year. Charles and I have spoken with Adrian often about you, so it was beyond fitting that he was in Makuu the day you popped in.

This is why we do the work. To make this place better for all.

Thank you, Hask, for everything you’ve done for us.

We have a lot to do moving forward, to execute the vision. I haven’t forgotten. Not a single word.

Much love, respect, and gratitude,


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