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Kai Dupe ’86

Speaking Out

By Donna Parker

Kai Dupe, who double-majored at Trinity in computer science and business in 1986, spent many years in the IT industry before discovering his new passion – education.

“When I began my doctoral work at Pepperdine, I realized just how much I like to speak to children, encouraging them to embrace technology in the learning process,” says this animated motivational speaker, who recently delivered the keynote speech at the 26th African American Men and Boys Conference near Austin.

“There is a clear need to go into the community with a message of empowerment and sacrificing today for tomorrow’s success,” says Kai.

“When I attended Trinity, it was a sacrifice for me and my family.  For me, Trinity was an introduction into a larger community – a chance to be exposed to a way of life and a community of people of which I had little knowledge.  I learned a great deal about people from the mainstream culture and it allowed me to do things in my life – the ability to move fluidly from one culture to another.”

“Clifford Trimble, department of computer science, was such an influence on me.  He was down to earth about what he was teaching.  He told us about life as a programmer.  Conversely, one other professor, who will go unnamed, was instrumental because he told me what I couldn’t do.  School was hard for me because I was working, and I was unable to devote as much time as I would have liked to my studies.  I needed the money to pay my way for books.  This professor told me I didn’t have what it takes and I thought to myself, ‘I’ll do it anyway,’ so it was actually a positive for me.”

Over the years, Kai’s technology career took him to the Bay Area in California, and then miles away to the sunny Caribbean.

“It was the time of my life!  My company paid for my housing and car and my house was right on the beach in Curacao, complete with a housekeeper.  But shortly after I returned to California, I realized that I wanted to teach and help others to realize their dreams through education.”

Helping him realize that dream is his wife, Cathy, a former Southwest Airlines software engineer, and his two young children – daughter Kisa, who is 2, and son, John Kai, 1.

“Speaking and spreading the word about educational technology is my mission in life.  It’s not what I envisioned doing while a Trinity student, but I know there are still people with similar economic challenges struggling the same way that I did coming up.  I want to take what I learned at Trinity and speak about these educational issues.”

You may e-mail Kai at Kai.dupe@kaidupe.com.