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Longtime Gallaudet Community Relations Chair George A. Boyd dies

February 4, 2011
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Dr. George A. Boyd, longtime chair of the Gallaudet Community Relations Council (GCRC), died Tuesday, February 1 at his home in Northeast Washington, D.C. near the Gallaudet campus.

Funeral services will take place at the University’s Elstad Auditorium on Saturday, February 12. Further details of the service will be announced in a future issue of Daily Digest.

As a resident of Washington, D.C. for more than 50 years, Boyd’s outstanding work to improve the quality of life for citizens of the Northeast neighborhood and beyond was recognized by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, mayors and council members of the District of Columbia, and many others.

Boyd’s community involvement began in his role as vice chair of the Mount Olivet Heights Citizens Association, an affiliate of the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations, Inc. He was also instrumental in the D.C. Home Rule Charter, which required the D.C. government to make provisions for citizen participation on its decision making process with the establishment of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC’s). In the first general election, Dr. Boyd was elected to serve a two-year term in ANC5B, and was subsequently elected to 12 consecutive terms.

In 1975, Boyd, along with Erna J. Belton, met with Gallaudet President Edward C. Merrill to discuss concerns regarding an adverse impact on the community caused by the construction of new facilities on the campus. Dr. Merrill was very understanding of their concerns and appointed one of his special assistants, Ethel Bothuel, to meet with Boyd and other community members to make recommendations for a mechanism to address present and future concerns of the community and to strengthen the relationship between the University and the community. Upon approval by Merrill, the GCRC was born—the first organization of its kind in the nation. Boyd was elected as the GCRC’s first chair and led the council in this capacity until his retirement in October 2010. In 2002, Boyd was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Gallaudet University.

“‘Well done good and faithful servant,’ is a Bible scripture that comes to mind when I think of Dr. Boyd,” said Sharrell McCaskill, Gallaudet’s director of Equal Opportunity Programs and the University’s liaison to the GCRC. “It has been an honor working with Dr. Boyd through the years and being a part of such dedicated leadership. He will be missed.”

“Dr. Boyd refused to just live in his neighborhood and passively watch things remain the same by taking a hands-off approach,” said Julia Bishop-Pitt, who retired in 2004 as director of the University’s Equal Opportunity Programs, and served for 31 years as Gallaudet’s liaison to the GCRC.

 

4 February 2011

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