Dr. Conrad LeRoy Mallett Sr., President Emeritus of Capital Community College, died Saturday September 9th in Philadelphia. For Capital’s faculty, students, staff, alumni and community partners, Dr. Mallett leaves a legacy of standing up for educational opportunity, economic and social justice throughout his life.
“The passing of our friend and colleague President Emeritus Conrad Mallett is very sad news for the Capital Community College community,” said President Wilfredo Nieves. “He was a very special man who fought for social justice and equity through education. His passion for learning and his leadership will always be remembered and celebrated at the college.”
Dr. Mallett, who with his late wife, Claudia Gwendolyn Jones Mallett, were lifelong activists for social and economic justice, served as Capital’s President for 11 years, coming to Connecticut in 1985 to become President of the Capital Region Community College District and subsequently, in a reorganization of the community college system, the second President of Greater Hartford Community College.
During Dr. Mallett’s tenure Capital merged with Hartford State Technical College in a state-mandated consolidation and the College was re-named Capital Community-Technical College with campuses on Woodland Street and Flatbush Avenue. He retired from Capital in 1996.
Dr. Claudia Mallett and President Emeritus Conrad L. Mallett, Sr. at the 2008 dedication to a Window to the Future in their honor. The College’s art gallery and a scholarship endowment are named in President Mallett’s honor.
Dr. Mallett was born in the Jim Crow South in Texas and moved to Michigan with his widowed mother. A U.S. Army veteran, he began a remarkable career in public service and education by working as a Detroit police officer while attending college. He earned a Bachelor of Science in education and an Ed.D in Education Administration from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in American history from the University of Michigan.
President Mallett taught at the middle and high school level for six years before taking on public service and anti-poverty positions for the City of Detroit in the administrations of Mayors James Cavanaugh and Coleman Young. Active in progressive politics, Dr. Mallett was elected to the Wayne County Board of Commissioners for five terms and served as its first African-American Chairman. Entering higher education, he joined Wayne State University as a Vice President and went on to become an academic Vice President at Wayne County Community College and the Community College of Baltimore before coming to Connecticut.
President Mallett (left) with legendary basketball coach Walter “Doc” Hurley and Stephanie Calhoun-Ward, Capital’s Information Technology Coordinator and an alumna of Greater Hartford Community College. The event was a luncheon honoring “Doc” Hurley.
In Hartford, President Mallett served on numerous boards and commissions, notably for 27 years on the board of the Community Renewal Team, the region’s anti-poverty agency. In 2015, CRT honored Dr. Mallett for his service at its annual meeting with a tribute by his colleague, former Three Rivers Community College President Booker DeVaughn.
Dr. Mallett’s three decades of community involvement included serving on the boards of the Institute for Community Research, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Wadsworth Atheneum, Amistad Foundation, Mark Twain House, CT Historical Society, Leadership Greater Hartford, American Leadership Forum, the NAACP and the National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly National Conference of Christians and Jews).
In 2008 the College’s Foundation, with new gifts in honor of the Malletts in a drive led by Foundation director and former Information and Marketing Director Susan Rand Brown, dedicated a Window to the Future at the second floor Welcome Center in support of the Mallett Scholarship endowment fund.
“President Mallett and Claudia Mallett are well-recognized in Greater Hartford for their longstanding support of the arts, economic opportunity, social justice and education,” read the dedication statement. “Together they have generously given their time and talent to these causes and continue to do so. Both have been exemplary educators in our community.”
The Mallett Scholarship Fund was one of the first established by the College Foundation when it was founded in 1985 and provides an annual scholarship to a full-time continuing student. At the Woodland Street campus the Conrad L. Mallett, Sr. Art Gallery was established outside the President’s Office and Conference Room. The Mallett Gallery was re-dedicated at the Main Street campus. It is located on both sides of the campus’ front entrance with art displays visible in the Main Street windows.
Dr. Mallett, a grandfather of six and uncle to 20 nieces and nephews, is also survived by his three children: Conrad Mallett, Jr. President of a hospital in the Detroit Medical Center system and former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court; Veronica Mallett, M.D., an OB/GYN doctor in El Paso, Texas and Lydia Mallett, Ph.D., the Director of Global Talent Acquisition and Organizational Vibrancy for DuPont in the Philadelphia area.
A Memorial Service celebrating Dr. Mallett’s life will take place Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 11:00 am at Plymouth United Church in Detroit MI.