In the 1987 Student Government elections, students elected Kevin Howell as their student body president, making Howell the first African American student to serve in the position. Howell believed students should be involved in campus organizations and activities. In an interview with the Technician, Howell discussed his objections to students using the excuse "there just aren’t enough hours in the day" for their lack of participation in campus organizations. Howell was active in many student organizations. He wrestled for two years, served as a Student Senator, and was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha. Howell left the wrestling team to fulfill his need to serve others. He stated, "I felt like, to a certain degree, I was being selfish. Because I was gaining everything, but I wanted so much more to give."
As Student Body President, Howell attempted to reduce racial discrimination on campus. He lobbied for administrators to seek solutions for the low graduation rate of black students, opposed the lack of black faculty members, and opposed the discriminatory disciplinary practices within the athletics department. One of Howell’s most successful programs was the textbook donation program with the University of the Philippines. Students donated over 3,000 books to the program.
Howell received Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from NC State in 1988 followed by a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Student Body President, 1987-1988
Class of 1988
Howell and members of the Presidential Roundtable walked around E.S. King Village to review the living conditions and hear residents’ complaints concerning poor ventilation and the lack of trash receptacles. Howell worked to bring residents’ complaints to the attention of the administration. The administration made efforts to resolve residents' problems.
After the University announced the substitution of Easter Monday for Martin Luther King Day, students reacted with mixed emotions. Howell introduced an open forum to hear student concerns about the spring calendar changes. Upon hearing support for both holidays, Howell pushed the administration to observe both Easter and MLK day. University leaders compromised by canceling classes on Martin Luther King Day and Good Friday and by holding classes on a Saturday.
Howell worked to improve race relations among students and faculty. Howell participated in a M.A.R.-C.H. (March Against Racism-Challenging History) that encouraged change in the University’s policies towards African American students.
Kevin Howell currently serves as the assistant to the Chancellor for external affairs at NC State. In 2009, he was named the Alumni Association’s interim associate vice chancellor for alumni relations and executive director of the NC State Alumni Association. Prior to his current position, he served as legislative liaison in the offices of Governors Michael Easley and James Hunt where he was responsible for lobbying members of the General Assembly. Howell has also served as Director of Governmental Affairs for the North Carolina Bar Association and as a judicial clerk on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Technician (19 February 1987, 20 March 1987, 27 March 1987, 28 August 1987, 26 February 1988, 25 March 1988, 21 April 1989)
State Board of Instruction, Department of Public Instruction. “Service for Success: Supporting 21st Century Learning in North Carolina.” 2008. Accessed 30 July 2010.
Richter, Chris. “Kevin Howell Named Alumni Association’s Interim Leader.” 2009. [Online]. Accessed 30 July 2010.