LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa.-On Thursday, Nov. 20, The Lincoln University welcomed Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., as its honors convocation keynote speaker.
Thursday’s convocation awarded over 200 of the university’s students who have excelled academically during 2013-2014 academic school year.
In Taylor’s reflections to the student scholars, Taylor empathized with students as he reminded them of his awareness of the pressure they are under to succeed.
“I know it’s a lot of pressure…but this is the real deal,” stated Taylor. “But you have to know your craft.”
Taylor also explained to students that it was their duty to their communities to excel in their academia and future careers.
“You owe it to our community,” Taylor explained. “Be true to thyself, you know what you do know and what you don’t know.”
The president and CEO’s speech was met with a thunder of applause from parents, faculty, administration and students alike. Students agreed that Taylor’s remarks were exactly what they needed to hear to encourage them to keep moving forward.
“[His] speech empowered me,” stated Shanice Pereira, a junior at the university, who was honored for her achievement of earning at cumulative GPA of a 4.0 last semester. “As a student, I work hard to get good grades…but it’s about leaving a legacy. Beyond graduating from Lincoln, I have to do my part as a graduate…to ensure that this education and experience…continues to generations of Black student to come.”
Student Government Association Vice President of External Affairs, Nicole Webb, a senior, reflected that Taylor’s words were a “reminder that our work is nowhere near done.”
“We have to keep going,” Webb stated. “It’s not enough for us to be Black, it’s not enough for us to be educated. We have to use what we’ve learned here to not just empower ourselves to excel, but also others. It’s about the collective as a whole; it’s about our community.”
In his closing remarks, Taylor urged students to not allow the color of their skin, gender, nor age to prevent them from excelling in their futures.
“I keep running into young people who tell me that they can’t be successful because of the -isms: racism, sexism, ageism,” reflected Taylor. “I’m not interested in why you can’t. I’m more interested in how you [are] going to figure it out.”
Named one of the “Power 100” by Ebony Magazine in its 2011 list of the 100 most influential African Americans, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. is the President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the only national organization representing nearly 300,000 students attending this country’s 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). With approximately 80% of all HBCU students attending TMCF member-schools, Mr. Taylor leads an organization responsible for providing this country a robust and diverse pipeline of talented workers and future leaders.