New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Rhonda O’Reilly-Bovell received a resounding applause when she stepped on to the stage at Hunter College to be inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame, and presented with a certificate during a May 4 ceremony in the school’s West wing in Manhattan.
The Guyanese-American, whose astounding accomplishment got the attention of the Hall of Fame committee, also had her name unveiled on a plaque with six other inductees during the evening that honored the distinguished alumni.
Bovell, the co-founder and president of the Guyanese American Law Enforcement Association (GALIA), said she was humbled to receive such an honor and expressed gratitude to her relatives, husband, and her mother, whom she said sacrificed so much to send her to New York to fulfill her dreams.
Bovell, who joined the New York Police Department immediately after graduating from Hunter College in 1996, is the first female Guyanese NYPD officer to make such a rapid transition from her first post as officer in the 100th Pct. to sergeant in 2002, lieutenant in 2010, captain in 2014 and deputy inspector in 2017.
The NYPD bravest has worked throughout the city, above and below ground, in Transit district 33, which covers train stations in East New York, and Brownsville, Brooklyn, the 30th Pct. in upper Manhattan, South Ferry, Brooklyn Bridge and the World Trade Center.
Guyana Consul General to New York Barbara Atherly, who was present at Bovell’s induction, called this captivating young woman an inspiration to others.
“It was indeed a pleasure for me to be present at the Hunter College Hall of Fame ceremony that honored one of our Guyanese sisters,” said Atherly.
“I am proud of the achievement of Deputy Inspector Rhonda O’Reilly Bovell, who is an inspiration to young Guyanese. Through hard work and dedication she rose rapidly through the ranks of the NYPD.”
“Today she stands as an example of what it means to reach for the stars,” added Consul General Atherly.
President of Hunter College Jennifer J. Raab congratulated the Hunter College alumni, stating that students have been at the forefront of social justice, and thanked the inductees for setting great examples of excellence for other students who have followed in their footsteps.
Raab singled out Bangladesh-born Safia Mahjebin, the only Truman Scholar, and only the second student in Hunter’s history to win a Truman award. While at Hunter, Mahjebin had been instrumental in helping to pass legislation to raise the legal age of marriage for girls in New York State from 14 to age 17, by testifying before the New York State Assembly. Mahjebin was found sleeping in the hallway of Hunter College after her father wanted to send her back to her country for an arranged marriage.
Daughter of Haitian immigrants Thamara Jean, born in Brooklyn, was also honorably mentioned. She was named a 2018 Rhodes Scholar, the first Hunter College student to receive this prestigious award.
Thamara wrote a senior thesis on the Black Lives Matter movement. It was recently published in the Columbia University Journal of Politics and Society. Thamara worked as a researcher for Prof. Brandon Terry at Harvard University, who is writing a book on the intellectual history of the Black Power movement.
“These achievements only underscore the high caliber of our student body and the important work of the Ruth and Harold Newman office of Prestigious Scholarships & Fellowships in supporting our students in their pursuit of excellence,” said Raab.
Alluding to the school’s motto: Mihi Cura Futuri — The Care of the Future is Mine, that the inductees epitomizes, Raab said, “you make us deeply proud, and we are deeply grateful for your service, and deeply grateful that you have come home tonight, congratulations to you all, and welcome home.”