Friday, December 18, 2015

[256] Graduating minority students encouraged to be future leaders

Each spring and fall, the office invites all students of color who are graduating to this reception to recognize their achievement. The 40-plus students who accepted the invitation were presented a special MTSU medallion emblazoned with the “I am True Blue” motto that can be worn during Saturday’s commencement ceremonies at Murphy Center.

“Our goal is to acknowledge not only what our graduates have achieved individually, but champion our collective joy as connected scholars as well as reinforce the bonds of scholarship and extend a sense of community,” said Daniel Green, the new director of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs.

Held in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building, the well-attended event featured remarks by Dr. Louis Woods, associate professor of African-American history; December graduate Verinique Bailey, president of the I AM ME Inc. student organization; and Dr. Deb Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost of academic and enrollment services.

“You have done an extraordinary thing that puts you in a very elite group in the state of Tennessee,” Sells told the students. “And you know the old saying, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’ So we want each of you to go out and be the leaders I know you can be.

“We are looking to you; we are trusting our futures to you.”

Student Alvin Pike, vice president of the Non-Traditional Student Organization, served as master of ceremony and also had some words of advice. As an older student, the reflective 38-year-old told the graduates that he came to “understand the urgency of now” in getting a degree.

He concluded the reception by quoting legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooten: “You should live like today is your last, and learn like you’re going to live forever.”

For more information about the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, visit, email or call 615-898-5812.

— Jimmy Hart (

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