Aswad Thomas

Aswad Thomas '09 spends his free time mentoring youth and speaking about the dangers of gun violence in the greater Hartford area and beyond.

Aswad Thomas to Speak at Convocation

(Read Aswad's entire speech here.)

Even on the court, where he still holds the single-season record for steals, Aswad Thomas ’09 was all business.

Graduating with a business management degree and working his way up to the corporate tax department at MassMutual, Aswad might have stayed in the business world. But that all changed when two bullets traveled through his back, piercing his lungs and narrowly missing his spinal cord, during an attempted robbery on the streets of Hartford.

Since his miraculous recovery from that night five years ago, Aswad has sought a different path.

“Being shot changed me and moved me toward a career in human services,” he said.

Aswad is completing a master of social work degree from the University of Connecticut and has been one of Hartford’s most outspoken opponents of gang violence the past several years.

He has shared his story at the Harvard Law School speaker series, with legislators at Capitol Hill, and throughout Hartford. He mentors youth and works on anti-violence campaigns with St. Francis Hospital and Mothers United Against Violence, among other organizations.

Ultimately, he wants to enter the world of politics and create change on the macro level.

“There are multiple challenges to preventing gun violence: improving the economy, stopping the illegal flow of guns, providing enough resources for young males, and improving the quality of education,” Aswad said.

The next stop for Aswad will be at his alma mater, where he will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Academic Convocation.