Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dr. Debra Saunders-White

When I learned the date of the inauguration for Deb Saunders-White as chancellor of NCCU, I knew I would have to attend. And I did, in the spring of 2014.

I met her shortly after I became president of Dillard when she was with the Department of Education. Dillard had been working hard to have our Katrina loan modified, the loan that helped rebuild a campus devastated by Hurricane Katrina. So we had a number of conversations until 2013 when she was announced as chancellor of NCCU. She made a visit to Dillard before taking that assignment to confirm that the loan had been modified and the new terms.

The last time I saw her was September of 2015. I was there as the hazing awareness week speaker, and had a chance to visit with her before the event. It was here when she told me that she was battling cancer; the news was not public at that time. You never know what to say when you get news like this, but she had a good spirit and energy.

So when I got the call Saturday morning I was surprised. I knew she was on leave, but I always expected her to fully recover. However this was not God's plan for her.

I am thankful for her service to NCCU and to the HBCU community. She and I were of like minds- involved with students, active on social media, fully understanding the big picture higher ed issues. I always enjoyed any moments we had together, including the 2014 White House Summit on Affordability. I just hate we didn't have more of them.

Thank you Deb for all you did. You will be missed.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Brain Food: Roland Martin

For election years I work ahead to have someone preview the election, and someone else to analyze. I also like to present diverse political points of view. If we don't expose ourselves to other ideas, we never grow. So I had Rich Lowry in September, and wanted a strong liberal for November.

Van Jones from CNN was booked back in April. I figured he would be great. He was, in fact, so great election night that CNN made him work the following week- when he was to come to Dillard. I found out that Thursday, less than a week before his scheduled appearance!

So it is about 7 pm and I am at a board dinner trying to come up with an event, or maybe just skip all together. But I felt we needed something, especially after a contentious election and our own campus tension following a Senate debate. So I reached out directly to the person who did my 2008 post-election lecture at Philander Smith College.

Roland Martin.

I tell my students that relationships are important. I'm not sure how many college presidents can directly contact folks like Roland Martin and have him respond in minutes that he would be here. In so many ways, he was the only person who could have given that message last week.

In his usual "Bring the Funk" style, Roland really did lecture. He covered lots of history, asked questions, and engaged us in a reality check after the election of Donald Trump. One of his premises is that he wants us to change our consumption of news and information.

He characterized the election results as what happens when folks who are not part of a system decide to vote, and that this voter was part of a historical pattern of black success being followed by white backlash. He pointed to signs of racial battle lines being drawn but a portion of the nation that wants to hold on to an America that no longer exists.

His 90 minute address engaged us all. The most important impact though was his citing of numerous books- probably about a dozen. Students after the event even tweeted him about some of the titles. Hopefully he inspired many of us to more actively read!

The Prez

Saturday, November 19, 2016

110 College Leaders Sign Letter to Donald Trump

I was one of the presidents who signed this letter for President-elect Trump. There has been lots of concern about his commitment to diverse students, and there has been tension on many campuses. I was glad that I was asked to participate. Here is the letter:

Letter From Presidents to President-Elect Trump
Dear President-elect Trump,
As do you, we “seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.” In order to maintain the trust required for such productive engagement, it is essential that we immediately reaffirm the core values of our democratic nation: human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. As college and university presidents, we commit ourselves to promoting these values on our campuses and in our communities, and we stand alongside the business, nonprofit, religious and civic leaders who are doing the same in organizations large and small.
In light of your pledge to be “President for all Americans,” we urge you to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name, which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office. In our schools, on job sites and college campuses, on public streets and in coffee shops, members of our communities, our children, our families, our neighbors, our students and our employees are facing very real threats, and are frightened.
One of the roles of leaders is to protect and empower the most vulnerable. As president-elect, this responsibility rests heavily on you. Let this be a mark of your leadership.

Presidents and Chancellors Who Signed Letter (alphabetical by institution) (UPDATE: Those who signed Friday are listed below.)
  • Raymond E. Crossman, Adler University
  • Mauri Ditzler, Albion College
  • Mark Zupan, Alfred University
  • Jeff Abernathy, Alma College
  • Biddy Martin, Amherst College
  • William R. Groves, Antioch University
  • John M. Sullivan, Art Academy of Cincinnati
  • Paul C. Pribbenow, Augsburg College
  • Steven Bahls, Augustana College
  • Marjorie Hass, Austin College
  • Leon Botstein, Bard College
  • Mac Powell, Bastyr University
  • Scott Bierman, Beloit College
  • Mariko Silver, Bennington College
  • David C. Joyce, Brevard College
  • Kimberly Wright Cassidy, Bryn Mawr College
  • Nancy Blattner, Caldwell University
  • Donald J. Laackman, Champlain College
  • Frank G. Pogue, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (interim president)
  • David McInally, Coe College
  • Brian W. Casey, Colgate University
  • Helen J. Streubert, College of Saint Elizabeth
  • Reverend Philip L. Boroughs, College of the Holy Cross
  • Jonathan Brand, Cornell College
  • Jann Weitzel, Cottey College
  • Carol Quillen, Davidson College
  • Mark McCoy, DePauw University
  • Walter M. Kimbrough, Dillard University
  • MaryAnn Baenninger, Drew University
  • Donald Eastman, Eckerd College
  • Carl J. Strikwerda, Elizabethtown College
  • Jake B. Schrum, Emory & Henry College
  • James A. Anderson, Fayetteville State University
  • J. Michael Pressimone, Fontbonne University
  • Daniel Porterfield, Franklin & Marshall College
  • Elizabeth Davis, Furman University
  • Janet Morgan Riggs, Gettysburg College
  • Robert Kenny, Goddard College
  • Mark Scheinberg, Goodwin College
  • Jose Antonio Bowen, Goucher College
  • Raynard S. Kington, Grinnell College
  • Jane K. Fernandes, Guilford College
  • Rebecca M. Bergman, Gustavus Adolphus College
  • John J. "Ski" Sygielski, HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College
  • Margaret L. Drugovich, Hartwick College
  • Kimberly Benston, Haverford College
  • Lori Varlotta, Hiram College
  • Mark D. Gearan, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Andrea Chapdelaine, Hood College
  • Shirley A. Mullen, Houghton College
  • Lisa A. Rossbacher, Humboldt State University
  • Alison Byerly, Lafayette College
  • Dan McAlexander, LaGrange College
  • Michael B. Alexander, Lasell College
  • Mark Burstein, Lawrence University
  • Barry Glassner, Lewis & Clark College
  • Richard Green, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania
  • Reverend Brian F. Linnane, Loyola University Maryland
  • Kenneth R. Garren, Lynchburg College
  • Brian Rosenberg, Macalester College
  • Stuart Kestenbaum, Maine College of Art
  • James Gandre, Manhattan School of Music
  • Kevin F. F. Quigley, Marlboro College
  • Kerry Walk, Marymount Manhattan College
  • Laurie Patton, Middlebury College
  • Bryon Grigsby, Moravian College
  • John Silvanus Wilson Jr., Morehouse College
  • David Wilson, Morgan State University
  • Stanley J. Pritchett Sr., Morris Brown College
  • Sonya Stephens, Mount Holyoke College (acting president)
  • Timothy E. Trainor, Mount St. Mary's University
  • John I. Williams Jr., Muhlenberg College
  • Kent Devereaux, New Hampshire Institute of Art
  • Richard Helldobler, Northeastern Illinois University (interim president)
  • Lawrence Schall, Oglethorpe University
  • David W. Oxtoby, Pomona College
  • Debbie Sydow, Richard Bland College
  • Allan Cahoon, Royal Roads University
  • Rachel Schreiber, San Francisco Art Institute (interim president)
  • Karen R. Lawrence, Sarah Lawrence College
  • Tracy Fitzsimmons, Shenandoah University
  • Susan E. Henking, Shimer College
  • Peg Albert, Siena Heights University
  • Joe Bertolino, Southern Connecticut State University
  • David Rees Evans, Southern Vermont College
  • Edward B. Burger, Southwestern University
  • John A. Pieper, St. Louis College of Pharmacy
  • Kevin J. Manning, Stevenson University
  • Valerie Smith, Swarthmore College
  • Susan C. Scrimshaw, the Sage Colleges
  • John M. McCardell Jr., the University of the South
  • Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Trinity College (Connecticut)
  • Stephen C. Ainlay, Union College (New York)
  • Thomas W. Keefe, University of Dallas
  • Quint Thurman, University of the Southwest
  • Jonathan Chenette, Vassar College (interim president)
  • Thomas Christopher Greene, Vermont College of Fine Arts
  • Scott D. Miller, Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Weymouth Spence, Washington Adventist University
  • Joseph Kline, Watkins College
  • Jonathan Gibralter, Wells College
  • Michael S. Roth, Wesleyan University
  • Dennis Hanno, Wheaton College (Massachusetts)
  • David J. Chard, Wheelock College
  • Sharon Herzberger, Whittier College
  • Stephen E. Thorsett, Willamette University
  • Elizabeth MacLeod Walls, William Jewell College
  • Adam Falk, Williams College
  • Barbara K. Mistick, Wilson College
Additional Presidents Who Signed Letter Friday:
  • Elizabeth Kiss, Agnes Scott College
  • Lex O. McMillan III, Albright College
  • Debora L. Spar, Barnard College
  • Clayton Spencer, Bates College
  • Clayton S. Rose, Bowdoin College
  • John Bravman, Bucknell University
  • Elaine J. Copeland, Clinton College
  • Harry Lee Williams, Delaware State University
  • Adam Weinberg, Denison University
  • David Dawson, Earlham College
  • Sean Decatur, Kenyon College
  • Teresa Amott, Knox College
  • Marvin Krislov, Oberlin College
  • John R. Kroger, Reed College
  • Donald J. Farish, Roger Williams University
  • Janice A. Cervelli, Saint Mary's College (Indiana)
  • Lara Tiedens, Scripps College
  • Matthew Derr, Sterling College
  • Jay Lemons, Susquehanna University

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Time to Go to Work

This is the note I sent to our campus community this morning in the election aftermath:

Good morning family-

If you are like me, you are sleepy. I finally gave up the ghost around 1:30 am when it was clear that America had spoken. It was probably a fitting end to an interesting 7 days for Dillard University. Just a week ago, we found ourselves at the epicenter of national news when a well-meaning protest ended in chaos. I am deeply sorry that some in our community felt like one of the participant’s participation on our campus was offensive and threatening, that they had been disrespected. Believe me, no one here has paid for this more than me, having been viciously attacked on social media, threatened and disparaged mostly by people I have never met. More than anyone, I wish things were done differently.

But last night I hope you received wake-up call- I sure did. It is time to get serious and go to work.

While we live in a protest culture, Trump’s supporters didn’t talk about it, they did it. And now many issues that are important to HBCUs, their alumni and students, will be in jeopardy- don’t fool yourselves. Larger issues like prison reform and voting rights will face new challenges, a new Supreme Court may roll back important legal gains, and higher education faces a president who rarely mentioned us at all- we don’t know what to expect.

Now more than ever we have to be Dillard Bold, Dillard Proud, Dillard Strong.

We will announce a time for faculty experts to help us process the election today in Georges, and next Wednesday you don’t want to miss Van Jones- he was POWERFUL last night on CNN (either Google his comments or check twitter- lots of people are talking about it). Process is important.

But big picture: It is time to go to work.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of King’s last book, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community” published that June. He gave a speech with that title to the SCLC on August 16, 1967. Take some time and read it today.

Pay special attention to his thoughts about how the Watts riots can’t be viewed as effective action, his commitment to love his enemies (read Matthew 5:38-48), and the concept of a Divine Dissatisfaction. My King Day speeches next year will be a 50th anniversary reflection, and in the age of Trump, the question really is where do we go from here. And in April, I will turn 50. The fact that these words so accurately describe what we see today troubles me, and therefore any delusion that many might have had that America was in a new place after 8 years of Obama was wiped away with a reality check signed by one Donald J. Trump.

We need to come together in the spirit of Ex Fide Fortis, strong from faith. Get your faith right, because these times call for strength and unity. Below is a note from Bishop Cynthia Harvey from the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church- she is on our board. I hope her words offer additional comfort to you.

As always, I am here for you- don’t be afraid to reach out. I will do so as well.

Walter M. Kimbrough, Ph.D.
Dillard University
2601 Gentilly Blvd.
New Orleans LA 70122

God is Still God

The months leading up to this election have been long and the words have been ugly. But today, the sun rose and the God of yesterday is God today and tomorrow and the many tomorrows to come. Some awoke today happy, some sad and some confused but God is still God.

There has never been a more important time for God's people to be in concert as a nation and as people of faith.  We must listen to one another and not simply the headline hype and rhetoric of the pundits. Our future is secure in the knowledge that God is with us.

It is time to pray for our leaders. May God give them the wisdom to lead with eyes open to see the needs of the people and the ears to hear their cries.

May we, people of faith, be reminded of our clarion call to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind.  We must stand for the least and the lost, the oppressed and the marginalized protecting the rights of children, immigrant families, African-Americans, Latinos - all of God's children.

And as my colleague and friend Bishop Ken Carter has said, "The Kingdom of God is not the United States of America."  Let us not confuse the two.

May we live in a spirit of hope and never of fear.

Grace and Peace,
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

Forward this email             View in browser

You are receiving this email from Louisiana Now! because you have an existing relationship with us. To ensure that you continue to receive emails from us, add to your address book or safe sender list.

To unsubscribe or manage mailings, click here
Contact Us
Louisiana Conference Office
527 North Blvd
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: 225-346-1646
Louisiana Now!, 527 North Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70706 Phone: 225-346-1646 Fax: 225-383-2652

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy 8th Birthday Benjamin Barack Kimbrough

Raise Your Perspective

My colleague Dr. Toya Barnes Teamer sent this to me on Thursday (it's now after midnight so technically Friday). Helping me to process where we are, where I am....

The Prez

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Raise your perspective

Do what you do not for attention or glory. Do what you do because it is good and right and worthwhile.

Live your life not to gain social standing or to collect empty sensations. Live to make each moment more filled with love, care, and goodness than it would have been without you.

Seek positive, beneficial results, yet don't let them define you. See yourself not as a collector of trophies but as an enabler of possibilities.

Let go of any need to prove you're right, or to be praised, or to feel superior. Fill yourself with peace, gratitude, and the love of making a difference.

The world rushes by, its false urgencies shouting, shoving, mostly ignoring the great beauty that is life. Lovingly raise your perspective high enough so you can see more of the beauty and less of the pettiness.

The value of your life today exceeds all you can imagine. Fill it with what matters.

-- Ralph Marston