Inauguration of Dr. Makola Abdullah

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I just returned from Petersburg, VA to participate in the inaugural activities of my brother president (my frat brother too) Dr. Makola Abdullah. I have really enjoyed getting a chance to get to know him. A brilliant scientist, he graduated from Howard and earned a PhD in civil engineering from Northwestern- AT 24! He is the youngest person ever to earn that degree at Northwestern. So you don’t need to go back 50 years to see HBCU brilliance in action.

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I came in a day early to do a panel discussion with my colleagues Ros and Michael, but Ros had travel issues and Michael had to cancel, so the VSU community got the PhD version of Dave Chappelle!

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So I had a great time opining about all things HBCU- it was a good time.

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So today I caught up with my colleagues and we participated in a wonderful ceremony. I try to attend as many inaugurations as I can, particularly now as the “Big Brother” if you will of the young HBCU presidents. I think as of today I am the 17th youngest (shows you how much has happened in the past 10 years when I was still the youngest- and that’s a good thing!)

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VSU SGA president Shai West stole the show early. Her greetings were extremely warm and creative. Any college president who gets an introduction like that is doing their job exactly the way you should!

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2 main take aways from the inaugural address. I like the way Dr. Abdullah frames the university as Virginia’s Opportunity University, and showed how historically it was the first institution in the entire state to award a degree to a woman- of any race. That was powerful.

Second, he reminded us that mathematics is the only thing we allow our children NOT to like. If they say they don’t want to read, we tell them go get a book and read. If they don’t want to go to church, we tell them get dressed because in this house we go to church. But if they don’t want to do math, we say, that’s okay- I don’t like math either. He’s right. We have to have our children master mathematics.

It was such an uplifting day. Glad to be with Bro. Dr, Abdullah, his trustees, my colleagues, and the Trojan nation.

The Prez

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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