Sherman Patterson M’13, an alumnus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, received a 2014 Bush Fellowship along with 23 other leaders committed to making the Twin Cities region a better place.

Patterson joins Jennifer Waltman — a current student in the Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology program — as a 2014 Bush Fellow.

After 21 years of active Army service, Patterson moved to Minneapolis and quickly became involved in the local community. He joined former Mayor R.T. Rybak’s team in March 2006 as a public safety policy aide and today serves as a community liaison for police chief Janeé Harteau ‘03, M’06. As Patterson has progressed in his career, his neighborhood outreach alerted him to troubling trends of gun violence, especially among youth. The plan he formulated and presented to the Bush Foundation is titled “Breaking the Cycle of Gun Violence.”

One of Patterson’s main strategies within his plan is to gather a group of 10 to 20 young men who are at risk — 10 from North Minneapolis and 10 from South Minneapolis, five of which will be of East African descent — and work with them before they fall into a cycle of gun violence.

“These black young men are on the cusp,” Patterson said. “I’m going to immerse them in programs that will educate the mind, body and soul. We’ll be doing field trips and exposing them to positive things in life. By me having this fellowship, it will give me the opportunity to bring in speakers and be actionable.”

Patterson also plans to travel and look at other cities with similar initiatives. He will look to retired NFL linebacker E.J. Henderson and former NBA forward Devean George for inspiration and support; each former professional athlete runs his own area youth foundation and will be guest speakers to the group.

The program — yet to be named, as Patterson will allow the kids to create a name themselves — is designed to last two years, long enough to help the participants through the early years of high school. Patterson’s hope is that this trial group will be successful enough to spark additional groups.

“You can’t just sit back and watch,” Patterson said. “I’m an Army guy, so I have to be in the fight. I want to strap up my boots and make things happen.”

Since 1965, the Bush Foundation has worked to develop the leadership capacity of the region by making investments in more than 2,200 people through its Fellowship programs. The Bush Fellowship is designed for people who have already demonstrated exceptional leadership abilities, but who feel they could accomplish even more for their community with focused, intensive leadership development. The Fellowship is distinctive in its flexibility, allowing Fellows to articulate what they need to become a better leader — whether through a self-designed learning experience or an academic program — then providing them with the resources and support to make it happen.

About Saint Mary’s University

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of service and leadership. A private Lasallian Catholic institution, Saint Mary’s offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs. About 1,200 students are enrolled in the residential undergraduate college in Winona, established in 1912. Approximately 4,300 students are enrolled in the schools of graduate and professional programs, which offers master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as bachelor’s degree completion, certificate and specialist programs. The university delivers education to adults through campuses in Winona, Minneapolis and Nairobi, Kenya; centers in Apple Valley, Rochester and Oakdale; and at numerous other locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Jamaica. Saint Mary’s is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

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