U.T. Saunders 1

If there was ever a man who was generous, gracious and good* it was U.T. Saunders.  U.T. was smart, elegant, well-spoken, stylish, learned, encouraging and direct.  I am saddened to hear that he has passed.

I met him in my late twenties when he facilitated a number of meetings for the Weston METCO program where I worked.  He voluntarily coached me in a one-on-one session and set me on a different path in my career.  He helped me realize that my future was entirely in my own hands and wholly my responsibility.  At the time, I found myself in a dickens of a situation and he gave me a prescription that was straight, no chaser and just what I needed to get unstuck and begin to make conscious choices and decisions.  I have considered him a mentor ever since.

I had never met anyone like U.T.  He was striking with his sophisticated European elegance.  No other man could wear a scarf – his signature accessory – like U.T.  The brother was clean with not a hair or thread out-of-place.  He had a mellifluous voice, a precise command of language, and was a masterful facilitator and strategic thinker.  He guided, reflected, broadened and, when need be, led.

It was my great pleasure to refer a few gigs to him over the years and to be part of some work he did with the Roxbury Cultural Network a couple of years ago.  His warmth, skill, sharp analytical mind, and patience were much in evidence in the work with RCN.

He graciously met with me when I asked him for his advice on a career possibility a few years ago.  He also enthusiastically attended a play by Mary McCullough who he knew from our Weston days.  He admired her artistry and was so pleased that she had pursued her muse.  He wanted everyone to succeed.

Over the years, I became less intimidated by U.T. but never loss my awe for his unique magnificence.  He was a brother who walked tall among us, lived well, and cared deeply.  He worked to lift people and organizations.

There is a hole…no, a crater in the world because U.T. is no longer with us.  I am only comforted by the fact that he no longer suffers and that  I, like everyone who had the good fortune to participate in a meeting or retreat that he facilitated, was changed for the better by the experience.

Rest in peace my friend and mentor.

*this phrase comes from a song by Leon Thomas.

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

One thought on “U.T. Saunders

Comments are closed.