Cheyney University Blog

President's Blog - November 2013 - Let Us Give Thanks to Our Parents and Our Grandparents

November 26, 2013

Jackson Family members Henrietta Stukes '48; Aaron C. Quarterman '84; Germaine J. Branch '61 and Mary Quarterman '53, accept the 2013 Legacy Family Award on October 20 on behalf of their family. Nine Jackson family members are CU graduates.

Jackson Family members Henrietta Stukes '48; Aaron C. Quarterman '84; Germaine J. Branch '61 and Mary Quarterman '53, accept the 2013 Legacy Family Award on October 20 on behalf of their family. Nine Jackson family members are CU graduates.

A couple of weeks ago, after attending one too many funerals of parents of my friends, it became clearer than ever that we owe so much to the generation born in the 1920s and 1930s. They were those in our families who weathered wars, economic depressions, and the unrelenting Industrial Age.  It is interesting to note that this generation is often called the “Silent Generation," or the “Traditional Generation,” yet, their legacies speak for themselves.

Our parents and their parents worked long, hard hours, often without complaining, paid cash before credit cards became the norm, sacrificed dreams and luxuries for their children, and believed that the future would be better -- if they just did their parts in small ways.  

Although they were born before it was possible to take "selfies" with  cell phones,  the unrelenting hopes and legacies of love that our parents and grandparents left us can be recounted in detail by some of us.  There were parents who worked two jobs to help make possible college educations for their "Baby Boomer" children.  There were parents and grandparents who were wounded in wars while fighting courageously for our rights to pursue our American Dreams.  There  were uncles and aunts who passed from our lives unheralded, but who also labored for us, and guided us, in quiet, but dignified ways.

This Thanksgiving, as we carve turkeys and pass around the sides, I hope we take a moment to give thanks to those who left us these foundational legacies of hope and love.  As we pay our respects to their legacies, we cannot help but thank them for believing in the possibilities of  our country, for returning to their farms to feed a nation, for bearing the indignities that only humans can inflict upon each other because of racial and class differences.  Most of all, I hope we thank them for stubbornly clinging to the belief that their sacrifices would lead to a better America for their children.

As we know,  the Silent Generation had their personal  and cultural struggles, and they gave birth to the more vocal and dramatic Baby Boomers who helped America evolve into a more diverse and future-oriented nation.  As a member of the Baby Boomers generation,  I hope that Generation X and the Millennials will advance positive social action, embrace the sacrifices they will face to advance and sustain the ideals of our nation, and pay it forward to the next generations of leaders.

It is also my hope that what we share with the talented, but not advantaged, students like many of those at Cheyney University, will yield long-lasting ripple effects for their families and will undergird our societal well-being-- moving us closer to our more sublime ideals.

This Thanksgiving, I give thanks to those hundreds of thousands of "silent Americans" who made it possible for us to celebrate peaceful and comfortable Thanksgivings with family and friends in 2013.


Tags: blog , Michelle Howard-Vital , President Vital , Thanksgiving , the Silent Generation

Add comment


No comments yet. Be the first!

The Season for Giving Thanks

November 10, 2009

As the Holiday season quickly approaches, and the leaves display a beautiful assortment of natural color before they fall from the trees, members of the Cheyney University community tell us there is much for which to be thankful. Our students tell us that they are thankful for their resilience and preparedness for future challenges; they affirm that because they are accustomed to doing a great deal with the meager resources at Cheyney University—they are ready. Our students believe that because of their overall lack of advantages they will be prepared to handle whatever life offers them, once they have completed their college education. Students proclaim, also, that they are thankful; for the caring faculty, coaches, and staff. They value the small classes and the quality interactions they have with faculty and staff. Further, many of our students assert that they are thankful to be at Cheyney University for the opportunity to acquire a college education and an opportunity to gain knowledge and skills for more effectively giving back to their communities after graduation.

Our alumni still recount stories of the affect that specific faculty, coaches, and staff at Cheyney University had on their development when they attended the University decades ago. Our alumni tell us that they are so grateful for the sacrifices and commitment of their former teachers, coaches, staff, and mentors because those dedicated individuals helped them to develop into the responsible men and women they are today. Many alumni are also grateful for the lifelong friendships and connections they have with the extended Cheyney University family. Alumni also let us know that they are appreciative that there was, and still is, a Cheyney University that takes students from where they are and helps them to pursue personal dreams.

Many of the current faculty and staff tell us that they are pleased to work with some of our students who have not been privileged, but who bring a wealth of experience, optimism, talent, and courage to the college environment. Some of our staff who are baby-boomers, moreover, attests that they are pleased to work with the students at Cheyney University because it furnishes an opportunity for them to bring forth a diverse group of new leaders for their disciplines and for the nation. It furnishes an opportunity for them to “give back” and to pay for future generations.

Some of our colleagues in the K-12 continuum offer that they are grateful for some of the successes of Cheyney University—some of their students who left high school as more-or-less nondescript persons blossomed and developed into leaders by the time they graduated from Cheyney University. Other colleagues in the K-12 continuum are thanking Cheyney University for expanding our dual enrollment activities and our outreach to precollege venues.

Without a doubt, I am thankful for the anxiously awaited new residence hall, so that we can offer our students accommodations similar to other institutions. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the students of the Commonwealth who come to Cheyney University and trust us with their hopes and dreams. Overall, I am also thankful for my assortment of skills and talents that can be put to use to help build a stronger America—one student at a time.

I am also thankful for the family and friends who support me, so that I can support others.

Michelle Howard-Vital



Tags: alumni , thanksgiving

Add comment


I am sure that Cheyney University is thankful for your leadership. You are doing a great job and we miss you at WSSU. - I approve it!
Kerty 3:29PM 07/30/10
Have you travel in Philadelphia Schools with your message? if you have, what Philadelphia Public High Schools.
Raymond Mungro 10:30AM 04/22/10
Dear President Howard-Vital, What a beautiful Thanksgiving message! I still miss you from your days at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and still have the Christmas angel hanging in my office that you so kindly gave me when my mother passed away. I have always appreciated your many kindnesses to me. If there is anything I can do to help Cheney University at North Carolina A&T State University, please let me know. We have some on-line survey courses that your students may be interested in as they complete their degrees in Geographic Information Systems. The contact for this program is Mrs. Peggy Fersner in the Civil Engineering department ( This program is receiving some great funding from the professional surveying organization in our state and there may be opportunities for some scholarships. I wish you and your immediate family and the extended Cheyney University family a very happy holiday. Sincerely, Gay Davis, Ph.D. College of Engineering North Carolina A&T State University Greensboro, NC
Gay Davis 10:07AM 11/30/09
I am sure that Cheyney University is thankful for your leadership. You are doing a great job and we miss you at WSSU.
Carolyn Anderson 5:03PM 11/23/09



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