When Temple security guard Huey Burkett passed away in February 2004, he was raising his teenaged son, Corey, as a single parent. Burkett wanted his son to attend the university, and with the help of many at Temple, Corey achieved his father’s dream.
One of the many was Captain Eileen Bradley, project coordinator for campus safety.
“[Bradley] ensured that a [security guard’s] child get tuition admission,” Monica Hankins, external relations coordinator for campus security and a long-standing colleague of Bradley, said. “She took [the paperwork] down to the bursar’s office herself. [Corey’s] father gave his life to Temple, and Captain Bradley thought his son should have the privilege of getting his degree here.”
A self-described “Temple Made city girl,” Captain Bradley joined the Temple police service after graduating from the university in 1972. She was the first female patrol officer at the university, before it was common for women to be patrol officers at all.
“[Temple] didn’t have any female patrol police officers,” Bradley said. “[Philadelphia] did have juvenile officers inside, but they didn’t have anybody on the actual patrol, and Temple put women out before anyone else in the city.”
Since then, Captain Bradley has dedicated her life to serving Temple and its community. She has a strong bond with students, administrators, staff and residents of the neighborhood alike, but she believes that Temple students are the most integral part to her job.
“I think that’s one of the strongest things that I have, my relationship with the students,” Bradley said. “I get along very well with the student government. I always go out of my way to make sure I know who they are. I meet with the leadership on a weekly basis, I attend all the general assembly meetings, I try to get out every year and talk to every student organization.”
Ray Smeriglio, student body president, said he’s known Bradley since his sophomore year.
“She’s almost a staple of my relationship with Temple,” Smeriglio said. “My professional network and the people I can now contact has quadrupled since I met Captain Bradley, just because of the way she is and the way she carries herself around campus.”
Beyond her large network at Temple and in the community, Bradley is also well-known for her work ethic. Hankins said she has worked with Bradley for about 15 years.
“Because of the nature of our job, I’ve witnessed a lot of madness,” Hankins said. “And that’s where you know what the outcome is going to be, but you’re not quite sure how you’re going to get to that outcome.”
Bradley values the relationship that Temple has with the North Philadelphia community and said she always does her best to get to know community leaders and put together programs and events for residents.
The annual children’s party in December is organized by Bradley, as are bike safety programs, trips to sports games for the children in the neighborhood, officer mentorship, and the monthly service initiative, Adopt-A-Block. Bradley said that she is also trying to establish a food bank in the neighborhood.
“If you live around Temple University and you’re active a little bit in the community, you know who she is,” Vice President and Special Assistant to the President William Bergman said.
Bradley said she emphasizes community relations to students as well.
“The last couple years there has been tension, as students have moved further and further into the neighborhood,” Bradley said. “I try to tell the students that they’re going to be here for four or five years, and they should be part of the community while they’re here.”
Outside of her hectic work schedule, Bradley said she runs an exercise class every morning. She also works with Special Teens Project, which assists special needs teenagers in counties across Pennsylvania. The Special Teens Project is especially important to Bradley because of her close relationship with her sister.
“After my parents died, I took her in,” Bradley said. “I have a special needs sister and I do a lot of service with her group.”
Bradley also has a son, who is adopted from Korea, and three grandchildren.
Bradley’s mentorship has been pivotal for budding leaders at Temple throughout the years. By working closely with students who take an active role, she has given advice that has endured throughout the students’ time at Temple and beyond.
“One thing she always says to me is, ‘You’ll be fine,’” Aaliyah Ahmad, Temple Student Government’s director of local community affairs said. “She tells me not to overthink something, to know that I already have all the qualities to make sure that something is successful … to just believe in myself and know that I’ll be able to conquer whatever my goal is.”
Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org