Haki Halisi was recently the director of development at the Miami Dade College (MDC), School of Science–the latest port of arrival in his nearly 20-year voyage through higher education philanthropy. At MDC, he was charged with cultivating relationships with influential philanthropic foundations, corporations, alumni and friends interested in advancing the schools mission. Halisi has facilitated numerous progressive and diverse capital campaigns ranging from $5 million to $750 million for several noteworthy institutions like American University and Florida International University.
He likes to think of himself as a “hopeful revolutionary” still trying to change the world through his passionate commitment to higher education years after graduating from Howard University. For him higher education is a guaranteed path to what he describes as life success, not just success in life. Life success includes financial security of course, but it also addresses a broader understanding of society, of the core meaning of the many challenges that permeate our lives and of the tools and techniques necessary to address them. He admits that without Howard University he would be a completely different person, probably more prone to posting selfies on Facebook than producing social commentary about current events, trying in vain to keep up with the Kardashians rather than keeping up with literature, art and politics.
As an active proponent of R. K. Greenleaf’s theory of servant leadership, he has also served as a counselor at the National Center for Children and Families, volunteered for the American Liver Foundation, and supports the annual Help the Homeless Walkathon in Washington, DC.
He is a self-proclaimed “word junkie,” whose favorite books include The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Racism 101 by Nikki Giovanni and Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. He is a dedicated advocate for people with autism, who strives daily to find that elusive piece of the puzzle. But most importantly, he has been Myriam’s husband for 15 years and is and forever will be Khalila and Noah’s dad.