Origins of USNAMA
Dr. Kenneth Dunn ‘74
After LCDR’s Johnson and Gaines monumental efforts to increase African American enrollment at the Academy in the 1970’s, the need for support groups to provide mentoring, tutoring, guidance, comradery, and social activities became more apparent. An idea to help the minority Midshipmen fill these gaps within Bancroft Hall came to be through the forward thinking and courage of a few First classmen (’72) who dared to make a difference. They orchestrated the idea of an announcement during evening meal that “anyone taking the ‘Sickle Cell Anemia test’ report to Chauvenet 216 to review the results”. From the meeting, Midshipman Second Class K. D. Dunn came up with the signature idea. Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, “KD” possessed oratory skills, a huge personality, and inherent leadership style that made him a born leader. He used the announcement to push an idea of self-help.
Midshipman Dunn announced the start of the El Dorado Social Club (EDSC) so the Minority Midshipmen could network with each other and enhance their own professional and personal development. The organization he helped to create continues to this day (El Dorado Society) with over 300 active members who continue to support the USNA. Midshipman Dunn became a USMC Colonel, commanded an artillery battalion, served for 30 years as a Marine, and achieved his Doctor of Education degree (2008). In 2015, he authored a book, Camp Lejeune Command: Commander’s Notes 1992 – 1995.
Mr. Don Montgomery '74
In the 90’s, the war for minority talent was felt at many of the top Universities. For the Academy to continue competing for its fair share of strong candidates, Mr. David Dunn ’55 in 1992 donated a grant to the Academy to fund and hire the first Admissions Outreach Coordinator.
The purpose of this new role was to identify, recruit, and secure top qualified high school graduates to build the minority ranks at the Academy again as it was done by LCDR’s Johnson and Gaines in the 70’s. The person chosen for this position was Don “T-Go” Montgomery ’74, a Navy football player from Baltimore, MD, former Surface Warfare Officer, and corporate leader with Proctor and Gamble, who decided to “pay it forward” and return to USNA to make a difference.
With the assistance of Dean Bruce Latta ‘78, they were able to reverse attrition rates, build awareness of the Academy in major metropolitan areas around the country, and increase the numbers of high quality minority candidate applications. With the support Dean Latta, Don used “Center of Influence” conferences, targeted recruiting strategies and plans to prospect under- represented congressional districts, cities, and high achieving schools with the help BGO’s, and alumni volunteers.
Mr. Montgomery played a significant role in the recruitment, professional development, graduation and contributions to the Naval Service of hundreds of Midshipmen. Many of these candidates have risen to top leadership positions in the Military, Government and Corporate Sectors.