LTC Payne’s uncompromising pursuit of excellence and desire to help others has been a hallmark throughout his entire life. As a teen, he was no stranger to hard work; listing fruit picker, lawn and maintenance worker, septic tank cleaner, garbage truck jockey, and crawl space inspector as a part of his work experience. Taking pride in being the son of New Jersey’s first African American chief of police, LTC Payne soon began his own string of firsts. He was the first in his family to attend college and he made the most of it; graduating from Hampton University, earning a commission in the United States Army as a Distinguished Military Graduate, graduating from the Army’s prestigious Command and Staff College, and serving in many key positions. LTC Payne’s used his leadership skills to make a difference in the policies and procedures of the Army, and in the lives of the people he met along the way. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, after serving over 28 years in the military.

Additionally, LTC Payne answered God's call and was ordained to minister the gospel in 1990. Matthew 19:26 serves as his assurance and motivation. The LTC Harold R. Payne Change Maker Award is for students who are seeking to use their leadership skills to cultivate sustainable change and make a difference in the lives of others.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Record of community volunteerism (not school related)
  • High school graduate (2018)
  • Pursue public service degree
  • Attend Historically Black College or University
  • Minimum 2.3 GPA
  • Due: Labor Day