Hal Kellner Award
Near the end of their program, each cohort is invited to select the one class member who best exemplifies the unique character that was Hal Kellner. The awardee is selected by secret ballot and is honored at the cohort’s Closing Ceremony on their last weekend together.
Hal Kellner awardees demonstrate these characteristics and qualities:
- Contributed immensely to the growth, development, and maintenance of this community.
- Demonstrated courage and personified concepts through the “use of self” to bring about a profound awareness and sensitivity to issues of diversity.
- Exhibited a commitment to raising issues of social justice, whether based on race, gender, religious differences, ethnicity, culture, nationality, or sexual orientation and as a result added greatly to the group's ability to become a cohesive, inclusive community.
- Consistently challenged the class to remember that the struggle for social justice requires courage and continual re-examination of one’s own behavior.
About Harold Nathan Kellner
Harold Nathan Kellner was a psychologist, teacher, civil rights worker and counselor, and regarded as an important and original social thinker and activist.
He spent his life working for his vision of a pluralistic society in which cultures, races and genders fulfilled themselves by maintaining their diversity, not conforming to an abstract "melting pot" theory that might deprive them of individual distinctions.
According to a friend, "His genius lay in his ability to synthesize complex ideas and to make them clear, lucid and acceptable. Key to that ability was his ability to appeal to people's feelings and emotions."
He was born in Baltimore, the son of Rabbi Abraham Kellner and Katherine Kellner, and grew up in New York City and Washington, DC.
While young, Kellner was raised to be a rabbi, but decided he did not want to live and study with the Yiddish-speaking family with which he was living, and instead chose to live on the streets of New York for a time, making his living as a gambler and a waiter.
He later graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1959 from Howard University in Washington, DC - one of two non-black students in the school. He was Phi Beta Kappa at Howard and he later told friends that his experience at the university made an indelible impression.
He received from Clark University in Worchester his master's degree in 1962 and his doctorate in 1965, both in clinical psychology. He taught at Boston College as an associate professor in the psychology department and was director for the Joint Center for Inner City Change, an organization for improved race relations, in the late 1960s.
Kellner had research contracts with the US Committee on Civil Rights, which has since become a commission.
He left Boston College to pursue independent research and activity and for a time supported himself raising trotting horses.
He organized workshops as an administrator for NTL Institute and later became a board member for the organization.
With Boston mayoral candidate Melvin King and his wife, Kellner ran an affirmative action internship for officers of major corporations. Officers from some of the largest corporations in the country paid to attend seminars in which, for example, humorist-activist Dick Gregory might talk for hours.
Hal Kellner was published in a number of professional journals of psychology and social psychology. He was an editor of Social Change, a journal of social psychology.
He also practiced as a consultant for major international corporations both in the US and abroad and ran his own consulting firm, K-O Associates.