Springfield Museums Press Releases

Ronald E. Harrell to Receive Ubora Award

General Museum News

August 29, 2005

Ronald E. Harrell has been selected to receive the 14th annual Ubora Award.

SPRINGFIELD - Ronald E. Harrell has been selected to receive the 14th annual Ubora Award from the African Hall Subcommittee of the Springfield Museums. The award will be presented at a ceremony on Saturday, September 17, at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts. Pamela Henderson, M.D., a local ophthalmologist, will be guest speaker for the evening. The presentation will be followed by a reception at the Springfield Science Museum across the Quadrangle.

The Ubora Award, which means "excellence" in Swahili, is presented to an African American who has made a significant contribution to the greater Springfield area.

Harrell is being honored for his longstanding work with Boy Scout Troop 35, the only predominantly African-American troop in Massachusetts outside of Boston. He has served as Scoutmaster for 25 years and currently is Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 35 as well. He is also chairman of the Springfield District of the Boy Scouts of America and a member of the Pioneer Valley Council Executive Board.

Harrell said he devotes his time to inner city youth as their Scoutmaster because "Scouting provides exceptional values, citizenship, fitness and experiences for urban kids which they could not get otherwise," and also "...because the scout motto says we must help other
people at all times and more importantly, because someone did it for me." His most recent adventure with several members of his troop was a 475-mile bicycle trip home from the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Bowling Green, Va., in early August.

Harrell is the owner and funeral director of Harrell Funeral Home in Springfield. He was the first African American to serve as president of the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association and to serve on the Policy Board of the National Funeral Directors Association. He holds a B.S. degree in civil engineering from Syracuse University and graduated head of his class from Simmons School of Mortuary Science. He has served in volunteer leadership positions for St. John's Congregational Church, the Mason Square Development Corporation, the Friends of the Homeless, and other civic groups. He has two teenage sons.
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