Boyd Bosma, Michigan ‘56

Boyd Bosma, Michigan ‘56 

Boyd Bosma was born in Muskegon, Michigan, where he attended schools and the community college there, transferring to the University of Michigan as a junior in 1954. He immediately joined Delta Chi and served as pledge president for his class. He is extremely grateful for his experiences with Delta Chi and views the fraternity and his friends there as major contributors to his eventful life. 

Initially planning to follow a pre-law curriculum, Boyd found his greatest interest was in education and chose a teaching career. After his graduation from U of M in 1956 with a B.A. in education, he found a teaching job in the Redford Union school district near Detroit. He and his first wife, Yvonne, had five children and remained there for twelve years. Delta Chi members may appreciate that his first son was named Kimball. 

During that time he earned his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Education at Wayne State University in Detroit. He held numerous leadership positions in the Michigan and National Education Associations (NEA). He led in ending discrimination and bringing an end to racial segregation in state and local affiliates of the NEA in 1964. He was elected to the NEA Board of Directors in 1968, then hired as coordinator for civil liberties and intergroup relations and as assistant director in the newly established NEA Human Relations Center, which he had proposed and where he effectively became the in-house civil rights activist for the organization.   

During his career of almost 40 years with NEA as a teacher, leader, and staff member, Boyd specialized in human and civil rights issues. In concert with other major organizations, federal agencies, and local and state teacher associations across the country he led efforts on school desegregation policy and enforcement. He also worked on national issues such as child abuse, corporal punishment, sex and age discrimination, substance abuse, affirmative action, conflict intervention, equal educational opportunity, and extremist organizations. 

In 1973 Boyd was invited into Wounded Knee, South Dakota, by Native Americans to assist in finding a positive solution to the 71-day occupation there by serving as interpreter/mediator for local Lakota residents while also working behind the scenes with two agencies of the Justice Department seeking the same ends. He proposed the process that finally allowed a peaceful settlement just before both sides expected a final shootout, but was detained illegally in the local Indian jail for two days by the FBI when he left the village to return to Washington to carry the message on how to handle the negotiations. Joined by 12 chiefs from the Iroquois Nation in New York, he finally was able to bring an end to the standoff with a meeting in the White House the night before both sides expected to have a final violent ending. 

Boyd has published numerous professional papers in his field and has received numerous awards, including a human rights award from the United States Committee for the United Nations. He was a close friend of the King family and was a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission and the co-chair of its education committee. 

Boyd and his wife Madeline have been married for 46 years and have one son together. After his retirement from the NEA in 1994 they moved to SaddleBrooke, an upscale retirement community north of Tucson in 1996. They are active in many local clubs and organizations, including speaking to a number of groups and teaching for SaddleBrooke’s Institute for Learning in Retirement. Beginning in February he will teach an in-depth course on political, economic, and diplomatic challenges between the United States and China, where he has traveled frequently. Madeline and Boyd love to travel and have visited 134 countries, all but Canada and Mexico, since his retirement. Their next travel adventure will be to Mongolia, where they plan to stay in yurts and ride camels in the Gobi Desert. 

Feel free to “friend” Boyd on Facebook or to call him at (520) 447-7433 or contact him at [email protected]. If you’re traveling thru Tucson, guests are always welcome, especially brothers in the bond.