A Heritage of Valor
Our Cornerstone students share a very important heritage. They share a heritage with people that not only look like them, but whose parents look like their parents, and whose grandparents look like their grandparents. You do not have to be a blood relative in order to share a common heritage. And, this heritage is a “Heritage of Valor.”
The Cornerstone “Heritage of Valor” initiative will talk about people you may have never heard of before. We will also talk about people you may know, but find out something about them you never knew. Either way, you are going to learn something you did not know before.
The people that we will discuss not only share your common heritage, but also are examples of courageous leaders of high moral character. They made a habit of “doing the harder right, instead of the easier wrong.”
Today, for our “Heritage of Valor” lesson, we will look at a magnificent woman, Major Pat Walker Locke. The setting starts over 220 years ago. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson founded a young nation’s first Engineering College. A unique school that not only taught engineering but also would soon become the most preeminent leadership development institution in the world, West Point, the United States Military Academy. However, for its first 175 years, West Point would not allow females to attend. Like all barriers, this barrier would be broken. In 1976, West Point admitted its first females onto its rolls. Pat Walker Locke was one of these highly qualified young women. Pat would be the first African American woman to graduate from West Point. Following Pat that same graduation day in 1980 was her friend and classmate, Joy Dallas Eshelman, the second African American woman to graduate from West Point.
Pat led a very distinguished career in the U.S. Army and retired as a Major. She continued with her second distinguished career as an author, motivational speaker, teacher, and champion of under-served youth.
Pat was a graduate of Mumford High School. Yes, right here in Detroit. She also shares a unique connection with Cornerstone Schools. Pat’s “auntie” is someone we all love. Our own Ms. Dorothy Ross, who has served families at Cornerstone Schools for more than 20 years, is Pat’s aunt.
Now, let us look at some of Pat’s amazing accomplishments:
- Founder and national coordinator of West Point’s LEADS programs.
- Recipient of the ‘Key to the City of Detroit.’
- Member Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service (DACOWITS).
- Founder and President of the Seeds of Humanity Foundation.
- Recipient of the Golden Torch Award from the National Society of Black Engineers.
- Inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame.
- Honored as Detroit Women of Excellence receiving the ‘Trailblazer Award.’
Pat lives in the State of Virginia, and visits the Detroit area often to see her Auntie Dorothy. Make sure you say “hello” when you see her.