I post this picture every year on December 13th. This is from Monday, December 13, 2004, my first day as president of Philander Smith College. So as of today I have completed 14 years, and now am into my 15th year. I was 37 when I started. Now at 51, I still have not reached the average age for college presidents (62). Crazy, right?
I was a speaker at a CASE this week on leadership and shared how much the presidency has changed, especially since the advent of social media. Facebook launched in 2004, the year I became president. And we’ve seen a steady increase in college presidents using social media. Of course the king of Twitter is your boy Trump! LOL But in that spirit I am sharing 14 tweets from my past year in office to highlight my 14th year as a college president.
- I used Twitter analytics to see which tweet over the past year got the most engagements. It was this one was second but interesting- over 4,000 RTs and 10,000 likes. Erickson was defending Kavanaugh and I thought his argument was absurd. After a few days, he removed the tweet.
2. This was the most engaged tweet. It was just crazy to have my son reference Chance The Rapper’s commencement speech while we were grocery shopping.
3. I do a social media fast every year during Lent but will sometimes break it. This was an interesting day because we had 2 programs brought to us by local radio personalities from different stations. It was a great endorsement of Dillard as a space where these kinds of events are done well.
4. I use social media a lot to BRAG on our folks! I view my self as the Too Big MC or Flava Flav for my campus- the hype man! Our mock trial team this year is on a tear! I am sure they will give me more opportunities soon.
5. I was super proud to have as an opening speaker for a faculty staff institute Dr. Steve Mobley to talk about HBCUs and our LGBTQ students. As a sector we haven’t done a good job with these conversations, and Steve was great.
6. Everyone who leaves this administration writes a book. I still like Omarosa a lot, but her book’s retelling of the HBCU presidents in the Oval Office is revisionist history. I HAVE to get my book done!
7. When it comes to athletics I am a big trash talker. The folks at Edward Waters are good sports about it, but I really love giving it to Xavier! And in this one the GCAC replied to make my point.
8. Heck, I talk trash about everything, including graduation speakers. I had to remind this Mecca man that we have gone toe to toe with them over the past few years. And if you talk to Howard alums they’ll admit we’re right there.
9. This tweet got lots of likes from conservatives because it was retweeted by Candace Owens who has about 1 million followers. She spoke on our campus this year (some folks were salty but too bad). I don’t agree with her on much but I am a staunch defender of diverse viewpoints. And on this issue, prison reform, there should be bipartisan support which looks like is happening.
10. These 2 tweets continue my long history of critiquing gifts that perpetuate privilege. On this blog I catalogued several of my op eds on this topic.
11. To me, best hip hop album of the past year. Period.
12. For real, this is how I felt. Has Roy Moore conceded yet?
13. The funniest part of the tweet was the response by my students!
My favorite tweet of the past year. My students know I really hate cancelling class, so this time Beyonce bailed me out. I guess it made it a win-win.
And that’s year 14 in tweets! Looking forward to an exciting year 15!