Lamar Anthony Thorpe was born in prison on April 6th, 1981 to a mother addicted to heroin. At two days old, he was placed into foster care and was titled a ward of the state and remained as such until his 18th birthday.


He was raised by immigrant foster parents from Mexico.  In a family of seven brothers and sisters, Lamar grew up in a working class, Hispanic community in East Los Angeles, California.  Because of his mothers inability to speak English, Lamar grew up speaking Spanish.


He learned English as his second language in elementary school.  Enrolled in a bilingual program until the 4th grade, Lamar was transferred to an English only class in 5th grade. That same year, he was placed in special education because he was unable to read or write English.  Despite multiple efforts to get out of special education throughout his middle and high school years, Lamar was never allowed to leave.


At the George Washington University, Lamar continued to serve in the military at the Washington Navy Yard. He chose to double major in Sociology and Womens Studies, as a result of meeting his biological mother in prison. It was this experience that created a need for him to understand the underlying issues of the circumstances surrounding his mothers life and incarceration. 


It became clear to Lamar that studying could only do so much, and he needed to take action.  In subsequent years, he became active in the Black Student Union, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, and the Organization of Latin American Students, among many others.


His experience showed him that these groups had no voice, just like his mother.  Lamar wanted to do more. He wanted to lead.

In 2006, Lamar was elected President of the George Washington University Student Association, a community representing a diverse constituency of more than 20,000 professional, law, medical, graduate and undergraduate students from around the world.


In this capacity, Lamar focused not only on the matters of the George Washington University community but also on the issues critical to the Greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. His priorities as President included addressing sustainable community development, sexual health and domestic violence. 


Additionally, he served on the university's presidential search committee that brought GW's 16th president and was instrumental erecting a plaque commemorating Leonard A. Grimes, an anti-slavery activist and early organizer of the Underground Railroad.


In 2007, Lamar graduated and was selected from a large pool of highly accomplished graduating scholars as one of seven Presidential Administrative Fellows at the university.


He concurrently worked towards his Master of Arts degree in Women’s Studies.  As a Fellow, Lamar was appointed to be at the forefront of university development as an Ambassador and Development Officer. In his roles, he founded the much-needed African-American Alumni Advisory Board and hosted the University’s First Annual African-American Alumni Reunion.  Prior to Lamar’s leadership, five decades of African-American issues at the university were largely ignored and they were without a voice.


By bridging the gap between the university and Black alumni, Lamar provided a platform of advocacy, empowerment and philanthropy through which issues could be addressed and development could be fostered.  As a result of his actions, Lamar was honored with an award by university leaders in October 2009.



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