OC Honors


2021 OC Honors Luncheon – Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 11:30 am in the Permian Ball Room at the Odessa Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. Guest Speaker: Geoffrey Canada

Join Odessa College in celebrating those who have made a difference in education by sponsoring the 14th Odessa College Honors Luncheon, scheduled for Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at the Odessa Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. We are excited to host Geoffrey Canada, founder of Harlem Children's Zone, as the keynote speaker.

Your sponsorship of the OC Honors Luncheon will directly impact Odessa College students through scholarships. These scholarships include the Student Success Scholarship, as well as scholarships for more specialized areas such as education, nursing, engineering, music and more.



Sponsorships received by August 20, 2021 will be listed in the invitation.

Contact: foundation@odessa.edu or (432) 335-6648 for Sponsorship Opportunities or more information.

Guest Speaker: Geoffrey Canada

In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc., Geoffrey Canada became nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform. 

Canada founded the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) in 1997, which targets a specific geographic area in Central Harlem with a comprehensive range of services. The Zone Project today covers 100 blocks and aims to serve over 10,000 children. The New York Times Magazine called the HCZ “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.”

The New York Times Magazine said the Zone Project “combines educational, social, and medical services. It starts at birth and follows children to college. It meshes those services into an interlocking web, and then it drops that web over an entire neighborhood… The objective is to create a safety net woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood just can’t slip through.” 

Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, he was able to succeed academically, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and a master’s in education from the Harvard School of education. After graduating from Harvard, Canada decided to work to help children who, like himself, were disadvantaged by their lives in poor, embattled neighborhoods.

Drawing upon his own childhood experiences and those at the Harlem Children’s Zone, he wrote Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America.

While Canada retired from HCZ in 2014, he has remained a passionate advocate for education and poverty issues. Author Jonathan Kozol has called Canada, “One of the few authentic heroes of New York and one of the best friends children have, or ever will have, in our nation.”

Past OC Honors Recipients

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