COLUMBUS – Stephan L. Honoré, a native of Urbana, will be honored during an event to mark the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps on Thursday, April 7, in Columbus. Honoré was the first student from The Ohio State University to be accepted into the Peace Corps in June 1961. His other historic firsts include being the first person from the State of Ohio and the first African American in the U.S to be accepted into the Peace Corps.
Honoré’s list of firsts continued when he became a member of Colombia 1, the first group to begin training on September 21, 1961, at Rutgers University. In Colombia, Honoré worked in rural community development as part of an agricultural extension team. His first assignment was to Antioquia in the Andes, the heart of coffee country. For 13 months, worked in rural jungle areas outside Buenaventura, Colombia’s largest port city on the Pacific coast.
Following his volunteer service, Honoré became an associate country director of Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, supervising volunteers working in rural and urban community development programs including organizing cooperatives and credit unions, fishing development, elementary education, and nurse training.
Honoré then worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Dominican Republic as a youth activities advisor where he advised a Peace Corps-like program for young volunteers. In the U.S., he worked in the Model Cities program in Toledo in urban community development.
After graduating in 1974 from the University of Toledo College of Law, Honoré taught law for 10 years at Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He took a two-year leave of absence to return to the Dominican Republic as Peace Corps Country Director.
Honoré maintained his private practice for 21 years. He then served as a part-time Houston municipal judge before moving from Houston to Atlanta in the aftermath of the 2017 Hurricane Harvey which destroyed his home and to be closer to grandchildren.
The Peace Corps 60th anniversary celebration was delayed because of Covid restrictions. President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order creating the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961.
Info from Peace Corps.