Class: 1962Inducted: 2018
H. Roy Kaplan (Kappy) graduated from Asbury Park High School in 1962. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Bridgeport, a Master’s degree from the University of Maine, and Masters and Doctoral degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst—all in Sociology.
He was a tenured Associate Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1976 and moved to Florida in 1980. For fifteen years he served as the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Chapter of The National Conference of Christians and Jews, retiring from that position in 2004. He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Africana Studies and a Kennedy Visiting Scholar in the Department of Art History at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and he is the Equity Officer for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights for the Pasco County School District in Florida.
He conducts workshops for middle and high school students in Bay area schools on conflict resolution and anti-bullying, focusing on inclusion and diversity. For the past two years he has been a facilitator on a project in Hillsborough County, Florida that creates opportunities for students and community members to improve interaction with law enforcement.
His books include: Lottery Winners; American Minorities and Economic Opportunity; Failing Grades; The Myth of the Post-Racial Society; and Understanding Conflict and Change in a Multicultural Society. He is currently completing a treatise on Native Americans.
Dr. Kaplan has received numerous awards for his civic contributions including being honored by the U. S. Department of Education as a "Hero of Education", selected as a "Community Hero" by the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, chosen as a Liberty Bell recipient of the Hillsborough Bar Association, received the Ethics Award from the University of Tampa, and recognized for his community engagement by the NAACP and the Urban League.
He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows including: Phil Donahue; CBS-TV Morning Show; ABC Good Morning America and 20/20; and the NBC Today Show.
He resides with his wife and high school sweetheart of 52 years, Mary (Henderson), in New Port Richey, FL. They have two sons, Eric and Ian and four granddaughters, Zoey, Keeley, Nia and Maggy.
One of his favorite quotes is from the ancient Jewish philosopher Hillel: "If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?" Dr. Kaplan’s personal philosophy can be summed up thusly: "We are only here for a short time and it is our responsibility to leave this place better than we found it."