Today, I walked across a socially distant stage at Liberty University wearing a cap, gown, and a smile. I posed behind a plexiglass shield and took a picture that celebrated a major accomplishment in my life. Today, God allowed and I received my Masters of Science in Social Media Management. I am so thankful
I chose Liberty University because at the core of its curriculum was its Christianity. The school is steeped in academics, but they are not afraid to incorporate faith and arguments of faith into their assignments. I was able to build on the skills I learned as an undergraduate public relations student, program acquisition professional, and entrepreneur and learn something new that I believe will help me build on a calling on my life.
How I felt about the Falwell Fallout
By now you know I am an African-American woman. While I lean heavily conservative on a number of issues, I have no political loyalties. I vote for the person I feel is the best person for the job, whose beliefs and efforts closely mirror those that I feel are my own and those that effect my communities. I was already a student at Liberty when a series of statements from the then president of the university began to make the news. There were numerous statements, but those that stood out the most were the designing of his own mask in protest of the mask mandate by Gov. Ralph Northam by using the controversial blackface yearbook photo attributed to the governor. I remember being shocked when the president of the university tweeted the pic and even more shocked when he made no apologies. Blackface has a deep historical significance towards minorities and to disregard it–Governor, President, whomever–is wrong. I watched as the university’s Black alumni condemned the remarks and one Black professor and pastor submitted his resignation. Mr. Falwell did eventually apologize, but there were still so many other things to come. It eventually led to his resignation. So, how did I feel about the Falwell fallout? Honestly, I was disappointed. Several friends and associates of mine discussed the issue in private chats and emails. More than one considered leaving the univesity altogether while this was going on, myself included. But all of us were so invested and so close to graduation that it seemed to be a cutting off our nose to spite our face situation. I knew and know better than to judge the man. He is flesh and flesh makes mistakes. I’m a living witness. But it did put a definite mar on my perception of the university. When the school forced his resignation, I felt they were trying to do the right thing and to present an olive branch of sorts to the school and its community as a whole. I appreciated it. I also appreciated the actions of the professors during this season. More than once, I had professors reach out to pray for me. They never spoke on the Falwell situation, but the fact that they wanted to pray in the way in which they did spoke volumes.
The graduation ceremony was everything I could have ever hoped and then some. One thing that struck me was the speech provided by the School of Communication and the Arts president whose speech charged us to live a Christ-filled life. Listen, I know Liberty is a Christian university. But I tell you, it feels different when you are surrounded by like-minded individuals who were all praising and grateful with you. That speech was probably one of the best I’ve heard in a long time and I was pleased I was able to see it.
I was originally skeptical about the event and its ability to maintain social distance. I need not have been. They did a great job of maintaining the 6-10 feet rule for graduates, families, staff, etc. Everyone wore masks and everything was sanitized. I watch the staff sanitize the chairs and area after our ceremony was over in prep for the next one. It was amazingly efficient. I think now is a great time to drop a few photos from a really great day.
Thank You and acknowledgements
You know what was really great about graduation day? Having those I love and care about celebrating with me. While I was on the field, my very good girlfriends were texting me in real-time while they were watching the live stream of the ceremony. The support they have given me is amazing and I am so thankful to have sister-friends as true and genuine as they are to me. Also there to support physically was my amazing family. What a joy to be able to travel to and from the commencement with my husband and children. It really is a blessing to be loved and supported and I am so thankful for their presence in my life. Finally, I appreciate all who have prayed for and/or encouraged me on this journey. I could not have done this without you! Thank you.
The following playlist was recommended to me for a Graduation Play list. Full disclaimer, it is NOT a Christian music play list nor have I vetted the songs. There are some pretty awesome ones in there though judging from the titles. Have fun jamming and thanks for reading!