Cheyney University Blog

Creating Rainbows in Clouds?

April 16, 2012

It has been nearly three weeks since the incomparable, legendary, and iconoclastic American treasure, Dr. Maya Angelou, a special guest of the Keystone Honors Academy, shared her magic with a spellbound audience of over five hundred at Cheyney University.
It is an understatement to assert that the nearly 80 minutes that Dr. Maya Angelou existed in our presence were some of the most memorable and remarkable moments in the lives of many faculty, alumni, students, and community representatives who came both to wish her well and to experience her wisdom and perspective wrought from a life of suffering, transformations, triumphs, and love.
Watching her on stage at Cheyney University took me back to our last conversation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was a small, mid-day luncheon at her home—so I felt doubly blessed to share her company. Another woman leader from Winston-Salem State University and I joined her armed with as many of her works we could carry—even though we were warned she would probably not autograph them.
It has been over five years since that extraordinary experience, but I remember it like yesterday, and wrap myself in its warmth. Dr. Angelou greeted us with a graciousness combined with southern hospitality that transported her guests to a higher spiritual, literary, and cultural plane. As we sat at her dining room table, we watched her weave her brilliance. Much as her presentation elevated the standing room only audience at Cheyney University, Dr. Angelou’s conversation was frequently melodic, often emphasized with quotes from the literature of many countries and songs in English and Spanish––but it was always profound.
We left this once-in-a-lifetime experience clutching precious and newly autographed books by Maya Angelou, acknowledging the feeling of wonderment that happens when you have been in the presence of a true phenomenal woman. I could not help but to ruminate on how a culture may continue to produce such genius. What should we be doing now to make sure we will have more “teachers who are writers” and “rainbows in our clouds”?
I suspect future geniuses are quietly and abjectly tucked away in many of the neighborhoods of our region. They are waiting for us to help them discover the path to transformation, so that they too can blossom into extraordinary leaders for the 21st century—“rainbows in clouds.” One thing is for sure, we do not know where the next Dr. Maya Angelou’s are now. My belief is that some are already with us now, if we can look at them through enlightened eyes, if we can help them see themselves through those eyes, and if we can help give them permission to be extraordinary.
As we all know, some of them, like the late Ed Bradley, have already come through the doors of Cheyney University and have made us proud on a world stage!



Add comment


No comments yet. Be the first!



B L O G S  B Y  T A G

100 Black Men, 100 Black Men Conference, 175th, 2014, 21st century, 21st Century graduates, access, achievement gap, Alice Walker, alumni, Angela Davis, athletic hall of fame, athletics hall of fame, BBBS, Bennett College for Women, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Bill Cosby, black history, black males, blog, Bond Hill, budget cuts, butterfly effect, Call Me MISTER, centers of excellence, Cheyney University, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, City Year, Civil Rights Movement, college, college board, commencement, cost of higher education, Dr. Hazel Spears, Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital, education, education challenges, education crisis, educational enterprise, excellence, fall, featured, Gaston Caperton, giving back, global citizens, graduating seniors, Haiti, hall of fame, Harrisburg, healthcare, heroines, homecoming, homecoming 2010, human rights, Humphrey Scholars, Humphrey’s Hall, Inaugural Speech, integration, intellectual capital, James Dumpson, Keystone Academy, Keystone Honors Program, leadership, legacy, legacy breakfast, life long learning, Lindback Foundation, love, Maya Angelou, Mayor Nutter, Michael Nutter, Michelle Hoard-Vital, Michelle Howard-Vital, Michelle Howrd-Vital, Michelle R. Howard-Vital, Middle States, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, minority males, NEED, negro educational emergency drive, opportunity, pathways to excellence, Pearl Bailey, president, President Barak Obama, President Michelle R. Howard-Vital, President Vital, President's Blog, Randal Pinkett, renovations, residence hall, retirement, Road Less Traveled, Robert Frost, Rosa PArks, Rose-Anne Auguste, scholarships, social media, Southern ladies, strategic plan, strength, student engagement activities, student organizations, study abroad, Sylvester Pace, teacher certification, teachers, thanksgiving, The Bond, The Great Migration, The Pact, the Silent Generation, The Talented Tenth, The Three Doctors, Title III, transformation, transition, university college, Vital, Vivian Stringer, W.E.B.Dubois, We Beat The Streets, welcome, women, women history month, youth