Herman McKinney, 1938-2014

Herman McKinney
Herman McKinney spent his career as an advocate for diversity and equity in education. In nine years as an assistant dean at The Graduate School, he worked to increase the number of students of color attending the UW. An elder statesman in Seattle’s African-American community, McKinney, who received a Master’s of Social Work degree from the UW in 1968, also co-founded The Breakfast Group, a well-known club of African-American male professionals to serve as mentors to young black men who had been expelled from school or were at risk of being kicked out. McKinney, who started his career in banking but soon transferred into social work, spent much of his career helping thousands of low-income people get jobs. In 1993, he was hired by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to lead a new initiative called the Urban Enterprise Center. At the center, which he ran until 2006, he sponsored public forms and private dinners to talk about race. He also led efforts to get Seattle’s business community to invest the city’s poorest neighborhoods. “It’s difficult to think of anyone who has done more to advance the cause of social justice and civil rights in Seattle than Herman,” says Eddie Uehara, dean of the School of Social Work. “He modeled the kind of courage, conviction, optimism and imagination to be a successful agent of social transformation.” McKinney died April 11 in Seattle. He was 75.—Jon Marmor

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