Upward Bound Co-Founder Honored for Community Service

Willard M. McRae, co-founder of Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Program, recently received Liberty Bank’s ninth annual Community Diversity Award. The Community Diversity Award was introduced in 2001 to recognize people who build bridges between those of different races, economic backgrounds, faiths, cultures and capabilities, according to the bank.

McRae was awarded at a reception among area dignitaries at St. Clements Castle in Portland, Conn., in late October for his lifelong dedication to creating opportunities for children and adults in the areas of education, mental health and human services.

In presenting the award, Liberty Bank President and CEO Chandler Howard called attention to the increasing diversity of the Connecticut population over the past few decades. “Our community today has many different faces … many different voices,” Howard said in a Nov. 7 Middletown Press article. “The Community Diversity Award was conceived to honor a few very special people who have led the way in bringing all those different voices into harmony. These are people who look at differences, and see opportunities. They experience the unfamiliar, and feel enriched by it. They listen to disagreements, and find common ground. Willard McRae is one of those special people.”