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Every time I am in Nashville I attend Mt. Zion Baptist. The senior pastor, Bishop Joseph Walker and I, have developed a relationship via social media and since I am in Nashville at least once a year for the United Methodist Black College Fund meeting, I have to visit. He also did our baccalaureate this past May.

His sermon today was “Pregnant with a Promise.” This is from the Gospel of Luke sharing the story of Mary learning from Gabriel that she was pregnant. The summary is that God has a purpose for us that we have to birth, and that God interrupts our lives to shift to us to new opportunities. He quoted Leonardo Da Vinci who said “Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.”

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So I was listening intently (they caught me on camera), and then he said that Mary being pregnant by the Holy Spirit allows no person to take credit for what God did. At that point I was thinking about what my wife has done with the pre-law program and the mock trial team. She really has not gotten the credit she deserves. Some people think that she is having success because she is my wife, or she is getting special funding. But I can’t take any credit for all the firsts she has amassed in just a few years. She is hustling for everything- the grants, the students, etc.

So this is the 3rd year we’ve had a mock trial team. We ended last season nationally ranked — after only 2 years. Today she took 14 students (along with coaches Judge Kern Reese & Roman Griffith) to Millsaps College for a mock trial tournament.

In this tournament last year our team didn’t rank.

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Today, we came in second. And the team from Millsaps which came in 3rd had 4 of our students on it since they were short (the teams are made of 10). So out of 10 teams competing, we were involved with 2 of the 4 teams that ranked. This is what Bishop Walker was preaching about today. Adria Kimbrough left that good paying employment law firm job to work at Dillard for a lot less money. But she was restless doing what she was doing and she had this program to birth for these Dillard students, as well as receiving a grant that now benefits students at Xavier and SUNO for pre law prep. She’s even getting referral from people at law schools trying to send students to our program.

But they’re not eligible. Word of advice- if you know of someone who wants to go to law school and do our great program, they need to come to Dillard — either out of high school, or transfer. Real talk.

And if I had any doubt about me supposing to hear the message today, at the close of our banquet tonight for the UMC college presidents, our Dillard chaplain, Rev. Ernest Salsberry, shared two quotes to hammer the point home.

Howard Thurman has a famous quote expressing this idea: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

And Benjamin Elijah Mays said “Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.”

I’m enjoying watching her live this sermon, and I am amazed at what she and God are doing at Dillard.

The Prez

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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