Founder's Day Convocation Celebrates 175 Years of Academic Excellence
February 29, 2012
Robert Traynham, political commentator, media analyst, writer, host, advisor and lecturer/teacher, delivered the Founder's Day Keynote address. Photo by Ted Water
Cheyney University’s Founders Week celebrations culminated on February 24 at the Founder’s Day Convocation. University President Michelle Howard-Vital greeted guests, “Welcome to the historic quad at Cheyney University as we celebrate our unique and unparalleled legacy as American’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education. We applaud everyone who has helped build the legacy that we celebrate today with Cheyney pride.”
Robert Traynham, political commentator, media analyst, writer, host, advisor and lecturer/teacher, delivered the Keynote address. A 1996 Cheyney University alumnus, Mr. Traynham serves on the University Council of Trustees and the Trustees University Relations Committee. His address began, "As we all know this great university was founded 175 years ago by people who had two unique and powerful attributes: They had the audacity to hope, and they had the humble belief to do the right thing, to chart their own course, to write their own song and to not even think about the praise..."
He challenged the audience to "remember what I think our Founders said to themselves...watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think...we become."
Award presentations in recognition of some key supporters followed. SGCA president Deanna Derry presented the Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award to Jeff Gordon and Mellanie Kai Lassiter of PECO, for supporting the “Just in Time Student Scholarships.” Jeff Perkins of Friends Fiduciary Corporation was recognized with “The Excellence in Strategic Grant Making Award” which provides support to preserve Cheyney University’s historic assets including the historic Humphreys Hall as well as facilitating the education of the Humphreys scholars. The Cheyney University National Alumni Association was presented with the “Spirit of 1837 award,” and The Hon. Chaka Fattah received the “Outstanding Public Servant Award.”
Commendations from throughout the nation included the Volunteer Service Award from President Obama, and congratulatory letters from US Senator Pat Toomey, US Congressman Patrick L. Meehan, State Congressman Chaka Fattah, State Representative Ronald G. Waters, State Senator Vincent J. Hughes, and PASSHE Chancellor John C. Cavanaugh, Ph.D. Adding to the festive occasion were performances by the Cheyney Players under the direction of Professor Jan Ellis-Scruggs, The Cheyney University Anniversary Choir directed by Professor Marques L. A. Garrett and The Cheyney University Band directed by Professor Alan Gardner.