Last Jackson State Graduation: The Nostalgia Has Started Already.

Aspen Wilson, LCA, Gerald Harris.
I am already feeling a sense of Jackson State nostalgia and semester grades aren’t even due yet. It was my last JSU graduation today and one to be remembered forever. Several of the students I’ve taught either walked or fully graduated today which is in itself is a blessing. DeMarco Morgan, a nice guy which I had the opportunity to speak with in a media banquet last year, was the keynote speaker. The weather was simple spectacular for a 8:00am graduation ceremony. I couldn’t have asked for a better ceremony. It was memorable, indeed.

In these past two years, I have smiled, cried, celebrated, got frustrated, prayed and helped to make Jackson State a bit better than what it was before my arrival in Jackson, MS. I have learned a lot in so little time, I must add. My feelings for Jackson State University still stand — I am very proud to have been a professor and interim chair in this fine HBCU. Sorry Alcorn… You are not a tiger!

Never in my career, I’ve connected so well with every student in an academic department. It is the very first time in my career that I’ve memorized every student’s first and last name in an academic unit. By the way, there were over two hundred and fifty three of them. The former is particularly difficult for me swallow (that I am leaving) as these things often don’t happen all that often as I hear from my senior colleagues and mentors. God has a very good reason for why we are headed to TN.

I wish things would have been different but God knows what is best. Jackson State isn’t a typical university, as many of my JSU colleagues have told me. They were right… JSU has its systems like any other university. We can’t always agree on everything, though. It is simply part of life.

I am looking forward to being a “teacher” again in a teaching university. To me at least, students must always come before scholarship. I would rather teach or travel to publish or perish as we (faculty) exist because of students not because of a research paper or a concurrent session in a conference in Nebraska or another near the city of Chicago, Illinois. Without students matriculated, _T_______ _Is_ _N__ _Aca____________ _De_____________. Fill in the banks! Students must always come first. 

At any rate — Today was my last graduation at JSU. The sense of nostalgia has already begun… There will be more, I am sure.