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Celebrating Our Legacy Of Access, Opportunity, And Excellence To Ensure Our Future

May 16, 2011

In April, Eric Almonte and I had the opportunity to accompany several students from Cheyney university to Harrisburg, so that the students could tell their stories to various legislators. The students explained how the proposed budget cuts would affect their lives, and they wanted to ultimately influence legislators.

What was sort of intriguing about this trip was how many people reacted positively to the students from Cheyney University. Now, I must admit that the students were definitely outstanding representatives. Our student trustee has already been admitted into two prestigious law schools with scholarships. Cheyney University’s outgoing president of the student government association has also been accepted into the University of Pittsburgh’s law school, and one of the female students plans to pursue a doctorate degree. These students came from different parts of the state, and from other states, but they had one thing in common—they continue to demonstrate Cheyney University’s legacy of access, opportunity, and excellence. There are many other students like them on the university’s campus.

As we prepare to celebrate Cheyney University’s 175th anniversary, it is important to note that our legacy is really a compilation of the stories, of the excellence, and of the opportunities this institution has helped others achieve since its founding in 1837.

Like most institutions, our legacy encompasses the courage, sacrifices, and commitment of many individuals across three centuries—19th, 20th, and 21st. Some of those who have contributed to the legacy of Cheyney University will remain unsung heroes/heroines. Yet, when we celebrate the contributions of Cheyney University to the commonwealth, the region, and the world, we are talking about the stories of all the individuals who have taught, coached, graduated from, and contributed to the spirit of the institution. This includes people like:

  • Octavius v. Catto, (1839-1871), class valedictorian of the Institute for Colored Youth, a teacher at the institute, and early civil rights leader in Philadelphia.
  • Julian Francis Abele, (1881-1950), graduate of the Institute for Colored Youth, and the first African-American architect graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. His architectural work included contributions to Duke University and the Widener Memorial library at Harvard University.
  • Edward Rudolph “Ed” Bradley, (1941-2006), acknowledged by some as one of America’s best journalists, worked as the host of CBS’ esteemed news program, 60 Minutes. Ed Bradley worked with CBS news for most of his journalism career.
  • Alumnus Robert w. Bogle, chairman of the board of trustees for over 20 years, and the president and ceo of The Philadelphia Tribune. It is the oldest continuing running African-American newspaper, created in 1884 by Christopher James Perry, Jr.
  • Alumnus Robert Traynham, CN8, Washington D.C. bureau chief. He serves as host of the national edition of Comcast Newsmakers and moderator of Roll Call, a Sunday political talk show on the Comcast network.
  • Alumnus Mercer Redcross III, founder of The October Gallery, an art gallery in operation for over 26 years.
  • Alumnus and Lieutenant General Ronald S. Coleman; one of a few African-Americans to earn the rank of lieutenant general in the United States Marine Corps with three-stars status. Lt. General Coleman recently retired as the deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs.
  • Coach C. Vivian Stringer, former coach of the Lady Wolves during the team’s appearance in the 1982 final four NCAA tournament. She was inducted into the basketball hall of fame in 2009 with a stellar record of basketball wins.
  • Alumnus Wayne M. Richardson who served as the first chief legal counsel of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. He is currently general counsel and secretary of the corporation of Fairleigh Dickinson University.
  • Recent Alumna Stephanie Orji, a two-sport competitor in track and basketball, who won the prestigious McClendon Scholarship and is currently finishing her degree in sports management at West Chester University.

As we move forth with the celebration of our 175th year, the story of Cheyney University will continue to be a story of ordinary and extraordinary Americans who have sacrificed their personal comfort and ease for the welfare and brighter future of all Americans.
 

Tags: 175th , access , budget cuts , excellence , Harrisburg , legacy , opportunity

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COMMENTS

Unfortunately, even with St Sen Hughes and St Rep Waters in the picture I couldn't help noticing a young lady who, in my opinion, was inappropriately dressed for the event.
 
Glenn Wilson 9:22AM 05/19/11

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