FILE- In this June 7, 2019 file photo, honoree Kevin Richardson poses at the ACLU SoCal’s 25th Annual Luncheon at the JW Marriott at LA Live, in Los Angeles. Richardson, a member of the Central Park Five, who once dreamed of attending Syracuse University is making his long-awaited first visit to the campus on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, when he accepts the university’s invitation to visit and lend his name to a scholarship. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
Through the eyes of a 14-year-old with a love of basketball and the trumpet in 1989, Syracuse University had everything Kevin Richardson would ever want in a college: Big East idols like Dwayne “Pearl” Washington and Derrick Coleman, along with the spirited band that played at games.
“All of my friends, we all had different teams and mine was Syracuse,” Richardson says today, 30 years removed from those days as a youngster in New York City. “I just had a love for Syracuse.”
Any dreams he had of attending would come to a sudden end that year, when he and four friends were convicted of a rape in Central Park they never committed. As one of the “Central Park Five,” Richardson spent his high school and would-be college years in prison.
To this day, as a 44-year-old father of two, he’s never set foot on the Syracuse campus.
He aims to change that this weekend when he accepts the university’s invitation to visit and lend his name to a scholarship.
A separate student-led effort is pushing for an honorary degree.