Educator Thelma Davidson Adair,
Organizer of Harlem’s Head Start Programs,
To Deliver May 5 Keynote Address at Kappa Delta Pi Initiation
--Over 100 Queens College Students to be Inducted into the International Honor Society --
FLUSHING, NEW YORK, April 28, 2005—Thelma C. Davidson Adair, organizer of Harlem’s Head Start programs, veteran community advocate and Harlem resident for over 60 years, will deliver the keynote address Thursday, May 5 at the Queens College initiation ceremony of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education. The event takes place in the Student Union Ballroom (4th floor) from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm on the Flushing, Queens, campus.
The New York Daily News has called Dr. Adair “a treasure” for her firm belief that education is the cornerstone of human development. In 1944, through the Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church, she helped establish Mount Morris New Life, a children’s day care center that still operates today, serving more than 200 Harlem families. When the federal Head Start program began in 1965, Dr. Adair organized Head Start programs that currently serve 300 families. Between the two programs, day care is offered at five Harlem locations. “We want to be accessible to our clients,” says Dr. Adair, who speaks proudly of the “privilege” of serving her community for more than six decades.
Dr. Adair’s numerous publications on early childhood education have become an authoritative guide for early childhood educators throughout the United States, and she is recognized as an advocate for human rights, peace and justice.
A graduate of Barber-Scotia and Bennett colleges, Adair earned master’s and doctorate degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught at Queens College for 29 years and is professor emerita of early childhood education. Dr. Adair’s numerous honors include the Barber-Scotia Alumni Award for Meritorious Service in the Field of Education; Columbia University, Teacher’s College First Distinguished Alumni Award; United Negro Fund Distinguished Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to Higher Education; and Woman of the Year Award.
Dr. Adair is an ordained elder in the Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church of New York City. She became the first black woman elected Moderator of the 188th Assembly, the highest elected office of the church, in 1976. She currently serves as chair, Presbyterian Senior Services and as advisor, Church Women United, National Board. In addition, Dr. Adair is a member of both the advisory council of the National Council of Churches and the Harlem Hospital Community Advisory Board.
Established in 1911 as an honor society for educators, Kappa Delta Pi elects individuals who exhibit the ideals of scholarship, high personal standards, and promise in teaching and allied professions. Selection into the society is based on high academic achievement, a commitment to a career in education, and a professional attitude that assures steady growth in the profession. The society has 55,000 active members, including National State Teacher of the Year and American Teacher Award winners, and National Teacher Hall of Fame and Golden Apple Teachers.
Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and a variety of specialized honors programs. Located on a beautiful 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. In fact, it is the nation’s #8 “best value” college according to the 2006 edition of The Princeton Review America’s Best Value Colleges. Queens College’s nearly 17,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak 66 languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment.