The COVID Chronicles: My ASU Presidential Scholar is Grown

When I worked at Albany State University from 2000–2004, the president, Dr. Portia Holmes Shields, wanted every cabinet member to “adopt” a presidential scholar. Essentially, we paid for their tuition and were to serve as a mentor. My first scholar left after her first year, but I think she ended up doing well (I have to track her down).

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Selena was my scholar after that. We definitely stayed connected all during her Albany State time, and she graduated in 2004. Of course, I left Albany that fall to become president of Philander Smith, and have now been in New Orleans almost eight years.

But we connected on LinkedIn not long ago and kept saying we needed to catch up. One of the blessings of the coronavirus shut down is that it gives us a reason to catch up with folks we have not seen or spoken to in years. I have heard from all kinds of folks, and working on a list of people I need to connect with as well.

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So this week I had a chance to talk to Selena. You realize when you have students approaching 40 that you’re not as young as you used to be. I was 33 when she started college, so even though I am on the younger side of college presidents, I have been around a long time.

But I am so proud of her and how she has grown as a woman and professional. As I realize I miss the energy of my current students, hearing from former students all this week has really uplifted me. I am thankful for these relationships and looking forward to building new ones.

The Prez

7th president of Dillard University

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