Professor Hank Boyd's Campaign Journey for Change
This week AMA was happy to be joined by our very own UMD Professor, Hank Boyd! Professor Boyd went in depth with his life story and encouraged us to take action when we are passionate about something. Professor Boyd took a problem he faced and educated us in a fun and engaging presentation on his campaign journey to make a change in his community. Before we dive into his campaign voyage, let’s start off with a little about who Professor Boyd is.
Starting his presentation, Boyd quizzed AMA members on where they thought he was from. Was Boyd from the East Coast? West Coast? Midwest? The answer: none of the above! Boyd was born in Poitiers, France, about two hours away from Paris. Due to his dad being a US Soldier, Professor Boyd was born as what he said was an “army brat.” His dad was minding his own business at 19 years old when he was drafted to Korea, where he loved being in the US Military. From there his father worked in the Special Forces and served two terms in Vietnam. Finally, the Boyd family moved to Maryland full-time where Professor Boyd grew up.
On one side of his family, as we learned, Professor Boyd’s dad worked with the military, while on the other side his mother was an academic. She was a University of Maryland Scholar who, as he said, practically ran the Shoemaker building. Instead of following in his father’s footsteps and joining the military, Professor Boyd decided to attend Princeton as a chemistry major.
During his schooling, Professor Boyd was able to tackle all different types of majors and learn what he wanted to do in life. Boyd started as a chemistry major but soon enough his advisor told him he did not strike him as a chemist. Boyd’s advisor told him he was too talkative and has too much personality to be working in a lab all day. Professor Boyd took this advice and decided to be a lawyer, but his father did not agree. Wanting to make his father proud, Professor Boyd went into business instead and attained his MBA from Berkeley.
Boyd entered the workforce upon graduation but after a year and a half, he realized he missed being on a college campus. So, he went to Duke to get his Ph.D. in marketing. Finally, after years of schooling, Professor Boyd got a job working for the University of Wisconsin giving extensive lectures in front of 250 students to encourage them and make them happy about marketing. Which is exactly what he did. Professor Boyd gave interactive and fun lectures, just as he did today with us! Despite his successful lectures, there was a part of Professor Boyd that regretted his decision not to be a lawyer. Despite his father telling him not to, Professor Boyd went back to school AGAIN and attained his J.D. at the University of Wisconsin while teaching at the same time. Finally, after a long road of being in college, Professor Boyd got a job at our very own Robert H. Smith School at the University of Maryland in 2005.
Professor Boyd continued his presentation by telling us about the only one in his world, his daughter Gigi. She would always meet her friend to walk home after school, but on November 3rd 2021, she had a doctor’s appointment and therefore would not be meeting her friend. She went to leave a note in her friend’s locker to inform her of this, when she was met with a shocking situation. As a young middle schooler, she came across the N-word being written as hate speech across her locker. Gigi was in tears, heartbroken and devastated by what she found. And what did the school do? Practically nothing. Their “policy” when coming across this hate speech was to take a picture and erase it, thus solving nothing. Seeing no real action taken by the school, Professor Boyd decided to take matters into his own hands and run for Howard County Council.
Now, running for council takes a lot of work and you can’t just jump into it. But that’s exactly what Professor Boyd did. He immediately went to file paperwork just weeks later on December 15th, with no strategy or funding. Usually, candidates get support from financial backers and other politicians to help them succeed. Realizing that he couldn’t do it alone, Professor Boyd hired his campaign manager, Sean, to be the brains of the campaign.
Next, Professor Boyd introduced us to his competitors: Deb Yung (the incumbent) and a young bold competitor, Janssen Evelyn, who had the support of developers from California and other parts of the West Coast. Both campaigns had the financial and moral support of others in the political game. Professor Boyd figured that with a budget of only $5,000 compared to his competitors who had $100,000 and more, he was in trouble. Despite this, nothing could stop him. His next move was to digitally publicize his campaign by making a website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Professor Boyd did not want to come off as another standard political website. Rather, he wanted to come off as a family man with moral goals. So that’s exactly how his team designed the website. There was a section on what he wanted to do for the community, pictures of him with his family, his time at UMD, and his time as a Kappa Alpha Psi member to attract other brothers. Professor Boyd and his team also made creative flyers and even received a magazine article feature.
Boyd knew he wasn’t an aggressive politician like his competitors, but this did not stop him from trying. While Professor Boyd only received about 6% of the overall votes, what he did manage to achieve was worth much more: inspiring a wave of individuals, most notably his daughter Gigi, to fight for what is right even when the odds are against you. Ultimately the incumbent Deb Jung won the seat, but Professor Boyd left us with the message: take a chance, you get one life and I have done so many things but this was the most fun and educational.
Thank you so much to Professor Boyd for visiting AMA and sharing his inspiring story!
- Layla Shulman