Cheyney University Blog

President's Blog - March 2014 - Let Us Continue to Build Heroines

March 05, 2014

Usually during Woman's History Month, I write a Blog about past extraordinary heroines like Fanny Jackson Coppin, Laura Waring Wheeler, or the many equally courageous but unsung heroine mothers and grandmothers who nourished and supported us throughout our lives.  These women, and many hundreds of thousands of others rightfully should be appreciated and remembered for their contributions to the backbone of our country--creating resilient families.

However, this Blog is motivated by an extraordinary, probably viewed by many as a consummate, professional woman who has quietly demonstrated an exemplary amount of courage daily, as she fights a daunting health issue.  Now, I am sure that many of us have heard of remarkable recoveries and unexplained cures of women and men who against all odds stay positive and experience seemingly miraculous cures.   It is a gift to watch this sort of courage unfold before your eyes.  To witness such courage strengthens us all!

Thus, this March, my Blog wish is for us to appreciate and really see the courage, resiliency, and compassion illustrated by women daily.  Also, it is my wish that we work as a community to continue to support the development of values such as courage, integrity, honesty, diligence, and exemplify these values for the young women we encounter daily.

At Cheyney University, we are working to help young women (and men) discover their unique values and life purposes, so that we will help them examine popular dictums of beauty, sexuality, and popularity to find their own unique beauty and life purposes.     This a legacy that gives for generations!


Tags: blog , heroines , Michelle Howard-Vital , President's Blog , strength , women

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President's Blog - January 2014 - New Year's Hope

January 08, 2014

As I come to the realization that it is indeed 2014 and another year has buzzed pass us, there are some things I hope will happen in 2014.
My first hope is for everyone to really see poor, decent Americans make better lives for themselves and their families through education.  These Americans are not the "beautiful people" that are stylishly portrayed in the media, but they are the citizens who possess "true grit."  They are the unnoticed and unheralded Americans who go through their daily lives unrecognized and unappreciated for the stability they provide America because of their steady belief in the American dream.
Moreover, even though I am not recommending any redistribution of wealth, I hope to see more affluent Americans invest in the future of America and strengthen our national well-being. I hope Americans with affluence invest in one or two fewer "toys" and contribute to much needed merit and need-based scholarships for young people with steel in their spines and hope in their eyes.  Further, I hope we see the value in investing generously in our youth -- our collective futures.
I also hope that in 2014 we will move closer to closing the achievement gap by realizing that students learn in many different ways, And we will  use the  many options at our disposal  to help students increase both their cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence.  Really, it is hard to believe that with all the technology that students can master that we cannot learn from them how students do actually learn and how they want to learn. Perhaps if students saw their lives at the center of their learning and they could be engaged in solving problems, we, the educators, could possibly change our somewhat parochial instructional design.
Oops, I digress. What I really hope happens in 2014 is that we celebrate our successes and learn from our past experiences.
As we welcome students back to another semester at Cheyney University, it is my hope that we keep our focus on examining evidence on our professional practices and pledge to continuously improve.


Tags: 2014 , blog , Cheyney University , Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital , education , President's Blog

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President's Blog - October 2013 - When Thou Callest ....

October 21, 2013

Homecoming 2013 demonstrated, once again, the commitment and dedication Cheyney University alumni have for the transformative educational and personal development that CU offers for students and their families.

Homecoming 2013 demonstrated, once again, the commitment and dedication Cheyney University alumni have for the transformative educational and personal development that CU offers for students and their families.

Homecoming 2013 demonstrated, once again, the commitment and dedication Cheyney University alumni have for the transformative educational and personal development that CU offers for students and their families.

As I read the various tweets and Facebook comments leading up to Homecoming, it became clear that alumni wanted to return to campus to rekindle, once again, the relationships and memories that had transformed their lives.  As I walked with my husband through the thousand of alumni gathered in the stadium, on the Quad, and tailgating on “The Hill,” numerous alumni would relate how Cheyney University had “steered them in the right direction,” “saved them,” or “made them into what they are today.”

Each year at Homecoming, I learn more about the evolution of Cheyney over the last 100 years.  One year, I was allowed the privilege of putting on a blue and white beanie to wear that all freshman had to wear when entering the college.  This year, I learned that one fraternity had rented horses to ride around the edge of campus during the weekends to entertain themselves and others.

Each year, I am more and more impressed with the alumni’s investment in the future success of the students of Cheyney University.  To me, these alumni have demonstrated their belief in the words of the Cheyney Alma Mater,

“Hear the pledge thy children offer
Strong of hand and clear of brain,
When thou callest, Alma Mater,
Never shalt thou call in vain…”

At Homecoming 2013, we received numerous checks for scholarships for Cheyney University students including $50,000 from the CU National Alumni Association from President Junious Stanton which represented the proceeds from the 175 Gala.  An additional $25,000 from the Gala has already been distributed to students for “last dollar” scholarships.  The campus community thanks the alumni for this generous gift.  Just recently, the CU National Alumni Association also surpassed their $1,000,000 pledge.  Realizing the need is even greater, the CU National Alumni Association is now working on a $2,000,000 pledge for scholarships. Without a doubt, these funds will change lives.
Additionally, during Homecoming 2013, there were numerous individual checks put in my all-accepting hands such as the $5,000 check from Alumnus and NBC Washington News Anchor Jim Vance for a scholarship in honor of Alumna Vivien Vance Cherry—the oldest living CU Alumnus.  Ms. Vivien Vance Cherry graduated from high school in 1929, enrolled in West Chester State Teacher’s College, and returned to college in 1956, at the age of 42, to complete her degree at Cheyney University. Ms. Vivien Vance Cherry is also the aunt of Chief of Staff Sheilah Vance who is also contributing to the scholarship in her honor.  

The University community also thanks the Cheyney University Foundation for helping to support athletics, the band, and the cheerleaders with contributions of more than a quarter of a million dollars.  We thank David Alston for his leadership and stewardship.  

It is the University’s plan to use these precious scholarship dollars to attract the most talented students to Cheyney University who will persist and graduate.

It is important to note that where there is sacrifice and generosity, there is also responsibility.  Faculty, staff, and students, we must demonstrate our commitment also to the mission, strategic goals, and future success of the students and families associated with Cheyney University.   Each day we can add to the forward movement of Cheyney University by raising the bar on our personal performance and professional practice.   We must work together as an effective, efficient, and evidence-based team (remember “team work makes the dream work”) to provide the best quality education, the best support for the teaching and learning environment, and the best customer service to the next generation of leaders.


Tags: Michelle Hoard-Vital , president's blog

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President's Blog - March 2013 - Our Daughters and The Broadening of The Talented Tenth

April 03, 2013

Recently, a colleague and I had lunch with our two twenty-something daughters. Both of these young ladies are college graduates, fluent in Spanish, and have traveled and lived in other countries.

While I watched their youthful faces aglow with stories of college experiences and living abroad - one had lived in an African country for two years in the Peace Corps, and the other had lived in Spain for six months studying abroad - my emotions ranged from pride to concern. These two young ladies, from different parts of America, stood as examples of what should be for many more millions of Americans. Without a doubt, these two young ladies, even though they are not men, would represent the Talented Tenth that W. E. B. DuBois first argued for in 1903 to describe the one in ten black men who would become the leadership class who would lead, elevate, and save others by talent and character. Unfortunately, both young ladies admitted that they did not see too many young men of color traveling abroad.
For W.E.B. Du Bois the leadership class would be the exceptional men (I think we can now expand that to women) who would guide those of diverse backgrounds to a higher standard of living. They would also demonstrate how others could be so prepared and educated. 
In his 1903 paper, "The Talented Tenth," DuBois discussed that such a curriculum would include "intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men to it -- this is the curriculum of that Higher Education."
However, some historians believe that W.E.B. DuBois altered his thinking later in life to recognize that leadership could come from many who were not the Talented Tenth and that a broader movement of the masses could push forth positive social change.
At Cheyney University, our task is to help expand the intellectual capital of the Commonwealth, region and nation. It is our vision that the Talented Tenth could be nearly every citizen, if he/she has the benefit of exposure to higher education, entrepreneurial possibilities and future-oriented workforce options. We acknowledge that a higher education curriculum that produces intelligent, compassionate and responsible citizens raises the quality of life and well-being of all of our citizens. 
We hope that more families will look at their sons and daughters and support their attempts to contribute to a higher quality of life for all. W.E.B. DuBois ends his famous essay with a statement like this, “If you do not lift them up, they will pull you down. Education and work are the levers to uplift a people."
Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D.


Tags: President's Blog , study abroad , The Talented Tenth , W.E.B.Dubois

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9 April 2013 Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital, PhD (President), thank you for the encouraging words and thoughts. As a father of a "talented" daughter who graduated from high school earlier than her peers and will obtain an associate degree before she becomes 18 years old, I often share with her the importance of ...knowledge of the a critical part of ...the curriculum of Higher Education. Frankly you nailed "it" when you cited what Cheyney University, my wife's graduate school alma mater, is contributing with your clear notation about the university's task. I will share your Blog and passionately encourage others to read you as you lead us all where we ALL need to be...thinking about the next generation of "The Talented Tenth" of both genders. In Seminary at Virginia Union University a professor shared the following quote which has helped shaped me. It reads: Catherine Esther Beecher (1800-1878), an American educator, wrote in her book, A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1843): “Let the women of a country be made virtuous and intelligent, and the men will certainly be the same. The proper education of a man decides the welfare of an individual; but educate a woman, and the interests of a whole family are secured.” I remain, TJ Hunter Hayes (
TJ Hunter Hayes 5:44PM 04/09/13
Excellent President Vital! The Pennsylvania NAACP Youth & College Unit, made up of 46 Youth Councils (youth ages 8 to 24) and College Units (youth enrolled in a college) is issusing a challenge to its members to read the "Talented Tenth" by W.E.B. DuBois and understand that they are the members of the Black Race that Dr DeBois was talking about. And being the ones he was talking about in the 21st Century, they have a moral impartive to take full advantage of the opportunity to be in schools and colleges being trained to represent as the best in our race. Therefore, the attainment of education, in all of its forms, must be their first pirority and then to impart that knowledge and know how to others who could not attain that college educaiton. Thus creating a cycle of education that will cause the entire race to rise higher than before and, ensure a better future for the entire race of Black people. Thank you Madam President for this blog reminding us and telling us to do more and better for both our Black males and our Black females, because they are our today and our tomorrow.
Rev. Elisha B. Morris 10:50PM 04/07/13
hey dude..!! thnx for the discussion i really appreciate it but not only our support and comments made this efforts, your also own efforts helps you.. see you on boards dude..! Ahman Adam - Legal Transcription
RPJ 4:01AM 04/05/13
Dr. Howard-Vital: Your thoughts are well taken and as the parent of a graduating senior I too, I do whatever I can to lift my daughter up. At this time, I hope you can help with what may seem like a trivia matter in your busy schedule but it is monumental to the students and parents of graduating seniors. It is just over 45 days to graduation and the pieces are not falling into place. The cap and gowns were finally ordered, the rings, invitations and pictures have yet to be ordered because decisions are still being made on some of these items. For some reason the pictures need to be retaken (urban legend). I have viewed the Cheyney website and there aren't any instructions on graduation procedures, when you view some of the other HBCU websites, there are instructions on what to wear, where to park for parents/students, hotels, etc. At this point it is frustrating because graduating seniors should be concentrating on their studies, not wondering why the pieces are not falling into place. I did notice that a few years back, a well known company provided the invitations, rings, etc. I am not sure why that is not being done this year. Is it possible to light a fire under someone so that the students can move forward with this process. This would go a long way in lifting the students up. Thanks!
concerned parent 8:46PM 04/02/13
Great smiling faces, love it!
Korepetycje 9:37AM 03/27/13

President's Blog--January 2013--Our Collective Action is Required

January 27, 2013

The Inaugural Speech of President Barack Obama probably will be one of the most memorable Inauguration speeches of  United States' presidents and, likewise, one of the most defining speeches of Barack Obama, the man and leader.

Like many other Americans, I listened to the speech wanting to hear a message that would brace us through these tough times, bring us together in times of extreme divisiveness,  and steer us  towards a future that envelopes the dreams of  happiness and well-being for a diverse, varied, and sustainable America.   Like he has done so many times in the past, President Barack Obama delivered.  He reemphasized that we are the "change,"  in statements like, "Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action," and "We are responsible, each of us as citizens, for setting the country's course."

Understanding the difficulty of our challenges, President Barack Obama stated, "We must act,  knowing that our work will be imperfect."  Yet, "that is our generation's task- to make these words, these rights--of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--real for every American."

As we prepare the campus for students to return this weekend, the words of this courageous American echo in my ears--"it is our generation's task"; "commitments we make to each other... do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us."

We at Cheyney University consider it a noble task to work towards the words memorialized in our Declaration of Independence:  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Welcome back students!

Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D.


Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Tags: Cheyney University of Pennsylvania , featured , Inaugural Speech , Michelle Howard-Vital , President Barak Obama , President's blog

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