The fall semester has officially ended, and as I look back on some of the highlights from a busy semester, I am filled with awe at the accomplishments of the outstanding students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other contributors that continue to make Howard one of the greatest Universities on earth. Here are a few of the many impactful moments from Fall 2012.
Visiting Musical Theater class
One of the things I enjoyed doing most at the beginning of the semester, was visiting several classrooms to observe the learning process and see the interactions and talent of both students and faculty. One of the classes I visited was the Musical Theater class in the College of Fine Arts. It gave me joy to observe the talent of these gifted students who work hard and take both their education and their craft seriously.
AT&T Nation’s Football Classic
The second annual football classic at RFK Stadium was full of exciting moments. It was great to see so many students, alumni, and others come out to support the team. See my original post on the full week of events here.
145th Opening Convocation
Our Opening Convocation speaker this year was Ambassador Susan Rice, who took the time to speak despite the whirlwind of activity that was keeping her busy in foreign affairs at the time. Her moving speech was inspirational to all present, especially for young women. Her example of hard work was inspiring.
Homecoming is already one of the biggest highlights of the academic year, and the homecoming committee and everyone involved in the planning continue to work hard to make sure that it gets better each year. This means offering more than entertainment and fellowship. There is also a purpose and a sharing that takes place, as was the case with the new Young Dreamers Events this year.
Howard University students interested in careers in entertainment and fashion recently attended the first ever Dream Day at this year’s Homecoming. The event was an opportunity to inspire young entrepreneurs, coordinated by the Young Dreamers Movement, Inc.
The turnout was great and the message that was presented was inspired. Here are a few photos from the Young Dreamers discussion panel.
COAS Freshman Seminar
Speaking to students in this semester’s Freshman Seminar course was a pleasure. Afterward, I was honored to receive an IDUPE award from the Freshman Seminar class and Dean Gbadegesin.
Preparing for Election Day
Another historic election that so many never dreamt of seeing in their lifetimes took place this past November. Our students were passionately engaged in not just voting themselves, but going out of their way to make sure their fellow students and neighbors in the community could vote as well.
It was moving, it was heart-warming and it certainly made a difference in the election.
The effects of the recent hurricane were quite severe and caused us to shut down our campus for a few days, but we were very fortunate. Some universities in neighboring states did not fare as well. Some of our own students lent a helping hand to victims of the storm as well when they went to New York on a trip organized by the Freshman Leadership Academy to victims with their damaged homes. Read more about it here.
Health at Howard University
This semester much attention was given to the health of the Howard family as well as the local community with several health-focused events hosted here, including a visit from Dr. Mehmet Oz, where over 800 persons in the community received free medical screenings. There was also Health Fair on the Hill, where Howard employees received health checks, information, and won prizes.
Most recently, the Coalition for the Elimination of AIDS-Related Stigma hosted the Third Annual International Conference on Stigma at Howard, where the stigma of HIV and AIDS and its affects on victims and society were discussed in an effort to eliminate the debilitating effects of stigmatizing this illness.
At Howard, we try to always remain aware of our responsibility to serve others. We do this often in the form of our charitable activities. This semester there was focus on many different need areas, such as the Bridging the Gap Campaign, which brings much-needed aid to students who thrive academically, but may have an additional financial need. There was also the Homecoming Gala Concert which raised money for Founder’s Library, one of the pillars of our University.
There were also community fundraisers, such as the Food2Feed campaign put on by WHUR, which aided needy families to be served by the Capital Area Food Bank during the holiday season.
Activities such as these are so important because they bring attention to areas that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Social media interactions
For me, one of the most exciting and different things about this semester was my journey into social media. It has been amazing to be able to connect with students,
alumni, and others directly via Twitter and see what people are saying about Howard. The immediacy of the connections we have is great, and it also calls for a higher level of responsibility to respond in a timely fashion.
Additionally, I have so enjoyed using my blog this semester as a new tool to put out the great things that are going on in the Howard community. I appreciate all those who follow it, and continue to share the info with friends and colleagues. Your feedback is very much appreciated.
In line with the idea of advancing communications, Howard University also launched the HowardMobile app this semester. With features such as campus maps, Blackboard access, shuttle schedules, and more, the University is ensuring that our students, faculty, and even visitors and can up to the minute updates on the mobile devices they use every day. The University also launched an app for the Howard Magazine, which showcases the stories of our alumni doing extraordinary work at home and abroad. This exciting advancement is keeping Howard at the forefront of communications for everyone.
The holiday season and the end of the semester
As the semester came to an end, all of our students and faculty closed the book on finals, while strengthening our lives with spiritual salvation and hope. However, there was still time to enjoy a bit of relaxation and fellowship before everyone began to leave for the holiday break at this month’s Student Holiday Party and the Faculty and Staff Holiday Party.
This is always an enjoyable time of year, and it gives a great opportunity to begin to recharge for the coming spring semester, and ready ourselves for a new chapter in life with the coming new year.