Kyle Locke ’96 ’17
Turning Giving Back into a Career
“Coppin is a university that produces resilient people. It is an institution that provides opportunity for the overlooked and the underappreciated,” said Kyle Locke, ’96 and ‘17. “There is a universal spirit of community and purpose demonstrated by the faculty and staff at Coppin,” he continued.
Kyle went from student athlete to having several positions at the university. He has had an illustrious run. Kyle was assistant women’s basketball coach, and dual titles of assistant athletic director for development and director of annual giving for Institutional Advancement. “Having the privilege of working for the institution that I attended made each position I held that more meaningful. When you are cut from the fabric that helped shape your life, your dedication to its existence goes beyond measure. You are inspired, protective, and super loyal to your work and its sustainability.”
Kyle is currently chief development officer for the Graduate School at University of Maryland, Baltimore. “Being an African American male with 18 years of college basketball coaching experience, and now fundraising for a tier-one public research institution, is a blessing on so many levels.” A genuine administrator, Kyle was able to appropriate the relationship building skills he developed as a coach and executive and transfer them to philanthropy full-time. “I am proud to be able to connect the African American community to an institution that once did not accept African Americans as equals,” he said.
The road to success has not been easy. “Gaining the trust of philanthropists who may have never engaged with an African American in this line of business, has been challenging.” But Kyle hopes his path will inspire more African American males, with athletic backgrounds, to pursue a career in philanthropy. “It is extremely rewarding and brings meaning to what we do for people. Being a trailblazer is something that I never imagined I would be, but I feel blessed to be able to inspire others who may have an interest in pursuing a career in the field.”
Kyle’s awareness of the importance of giving back was instilled in him by his parents. He and his wife Vanessa are proud sponsors of the dedication wall in one of the crown jewels of the campus, the PEC. “It’s imperative to the advancement of our communities, and it is also the bloodline which enhances success for the younger generation. It creates opportunity and provides stability that produces hope for our society,” he explained. “As a young man growing up in an environment where there was little to no opportunity to grow, I made it my mission to help others rise above their circumstances and strive for more in life,” he continued.
Kyle will always be thankful to Coppin for teaching him how to dream. He wants the same for current students, especially the male scholars. “Trust in your dreams. Embrace them. Believe in them and never allow anyone to discourage you. And be a vehicle for others to realize their passion,” he concluded.