Silas Purnell is the well-known pioneer of our acclaimed College Preparation & Placement Program. For several decades, in the basement of the Dearborn Homes housing development project on Chicago’s south side, he opened a critical door of opportunity for African American students to receive a college education by providing one-on-one counseling, giving invaluable advice and encouragement, and securing the financial resources they needed. Mr. Purnell trailblazed the program at Ada S. McKinley in the 1950s and it has been an ongoing success. We have now placed more than 70,000 African American youth in more than 400 colleges and universities throughout the United States, many of whom have been first-generation students. Thousands of leaders and professionals locally and throughout the country credit Mr. Purnell and our College Preparation & Placement Program for giving them the support they needed to realize their dream of a post-secondary education.

We have been honored to continue his legacy of leadership and persistence.

As part of reaching our 100-Year Anniversary milestone in 2019, we inaugurated the Silas Purnell Distinguished Alumni Award to honor his extraordinary legacy in educational services at Ada S. McKinley.  The first recipient of the award was Dr. Byron T. Brazier, Pastor of Apostolic Church of God and an Ada S. McKinley Student Alumnus.

For more information about Educational Services program, contact us at 312-328-3543 or educationalservices@adasmckinley.org.