‘Stars aligned’ for Patrick Troup

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Patrick Troup has been working in higher education for over 10 years. (Photo: Gabe Hewitt/City College News)

By Gabe Hewitt/[email protected]
Features Editor

One evening when he and his other exchange student friends were returning home from a party, Patrick Troup was stopped by Belgian law enforcement. When he presented his proper documents to the officers, they let him go. When his Nigerian and Kenyan friends presented their proper documents, they were hauled away in the back of their squad car.

This incident only reinforced his need to serve those who are underrepresented. MCTC’s current interim vice president of Academic Affairs has spent his career in higher education doing just that.

“Being a black male really helps frame a lot of my way of seeing the world and seeing where things need to be changed,” he said.

Troup has been exposed to multicultural communities since his youth. He tagged along with his parents when they visited schools in Southeast Minneapolis to tutor and mentor students. Even then, he could see underserved populations in the school system, students from a certain demographic that weren’t receiving the same treatment as another.

He became part of an underserved population as a Philosophy undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Being a mostly Caucasian campus, Troup experienced one side of the spectrum. He experienced another side when he continued his education at Howard University in Washington DC, a mostly African American campus, to receive his master’s degree in Philosophy.

“It was a radical shift for me,” he said. “But I learned a lot from moving from one culture to another.”

Troup learned more about himself as an exchange student in Belgium pursuing his doctorate in Philosophy. Going in, he expected to be treated as just another American in any European country. The incident with Belgian law enforcement and his friends showed him that race and profiling was just as prevalent in foreign countries.

“I didn’t think I’d have to address any issues like race and diversity,” he said. “Being exposed to another country’s views in that manner, I came back with a deeper respect for others.”

The example of underserved populations he experienced in Belgium fueled his passion to help serve them better. He came to MCTC because he believes there are a number of underserved populations that needed to be addressed. He addressed one of those populations, African American males, in his previous positions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN). The Huntley House is a house that was built on the campus that housed UMN African American male students.

“Males of color aren’t as successful academically as other demographics,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of support systems for black males and I believe additional support for them is needed if we want to improve our society.”

Troup saw the Huntley House as a bridge to connect UMN and the external communities through means of service projects and interactions and in turn, provide opportunities for its students. Even though he’s no longer an employee at UMN, he still checks in on the current class in the Huntley House.

Troup got into the administrative side of higher education because of students. He had considered becoming a professor but he wanted to make a larger impact behind the scenes on the administrative side. As interim vice president of Student Affairs, he wants to elevate MCTC’s profile and build a connection with the community. In addition, he wants to expand the college’s career resources and help create more internship and research opportunities for students.

“We can make a difference in students’ lives so we need to be able to provide all the services they need,” he said.

Through a number of his own experiences, Troup has been able to form his perception of populations he believes are underserved in higher education. He’s made serving them a priority and wants to continue doing so in his time at MCTC.

“I see things happening for particular reasons and I think all the stars aligned for me to come here,” he said.

Click here to read a Q&A with Patrick Troup.