Siblings Set New Record at Cheyney University
October 30, 2013
CU Homecoming Queen 2012, Fatima Murray-Jackson; CU Homecoming King 2011, Solomon Murray; CU 2013 Homecoming Queen, Sibongele Murray; at this year's Homecoming festivities
When 21-year-old Cheyney University senior Sibongele Murray was crowned Homecoming Queen this month, she and her siblings set a new record at the nation's first institution for higher learning for African Americans. Her sister, Fatima Murray-Jackson wore the crown last year. Their brother, Solomon Murray, was Cheyney's Homecoming King the year before that. School officials say it's the first time siblings have worn the crowns three years in a row.
The siblings aren't just beautiful inside and out--they are scholars. In fact, all of their siblings are. At one time, five of them went to classes at Cheyney University, which may be another record for the school. Their oldest sister, Fela Murray, enrolled at Cheyney first and made the best of her college years. She was a Resident Advisor, member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and consistently made the Dean's List. She graduated in 2012 with a degree in Psychology. She is currently in her last year of graduate school--pursuing a degree in Child and Family Counseling.
"Before Fela graduated, all 5 of us were here together and we all lived on campus," Sibongele explains. "My sister had already been here for 4 years so she told us what to do, what classes to take. She said do this, this and this--and we did it," she exclaims.
"That was my favorite year by far," injects 22-year-old Fatima. "Everything I needed was right there as far as support, tutoring, finances--it was family right here on campus" on a campus that is already known for its tight community, family-atmosphere--where everyone knows everyone.
Their sister, Fanta Murray, was senior class president, a member of the Keystone Honors Academy, and a Social Relations major who also consistently made the Dean's List. She graduated last spring and is now pursuing a Master's degree in special education at Drexel University.
Solomon, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, graduated cum laude last spring with a psychology degree. The 23-year-old is currently in graduate school at La Salle University while working as therapeutic staff support for students at a Philadelphia middle school.
All 5 of the siblings served as officers in student government while at CU. Not all, however, made Cheyney their first choice. Fatima originally went to Kutztown University but transferred after her freshman year because, she admits, "I wasn't just homesick, I was FAMILY-sick!" They all acknowledge that they were very close growing up. They have another sister who's a junior in high school who plans to come to Cheyney once she graduates to pursue her undergraduate degree.
Meantime, Fatima and Sibongele, both biology majors and Resident Advisors in King Hall, will graduate this spring and both plan to go on to medical school. Fatima wants to be a pediatrician--Sibongele wants to be a dentist.
I’m going to apply to the same schools as her but I might go to a different school," Sibongele says. "The goal is to be together again--just like Cheyney University. Family means everything to me. I’m nothing without my family."
That, by the way, includes extended family. After all, when Fatima and Sibongele are decked in their caps and gowns come May, their first cousin, Ebonee James, will be dressed the same because she's graduating with them!