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Graduating minority students urged to become future leaders

MTSU’s Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs held a special send-off reception Monday, Dec. 7, for graduating minority students and their supporters in advance of the upcoming fall 2015 commencement ceremony.

Dr. Louis Woods, associate professor of African-American history, gives words of encouragement to graduating seniors at the Intercultural Graduation Reception held Monday, Dec. 7, in the Tom H. Jackson Building at MTSU. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Dr. Louis Woods, associate professor of African-American history, gives words of encouragement to graduating seniors at the Intercultural Graduation Reception held Monday, Dec. 7, in the Tom H. Jackson Building at MTSU. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Each spring and fall, the office invites all graduating students of color to this reception to recognize their achievement.

The 40-plus students who accepted the invitation received a special MTSU medallion emblazoned with the “I am True Blue” motto that can be worn during commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 12, at Murphy Center.

“Our goal is to acknowledge not only what our graduates have achieved individually, but champion our collective joy as connected scholars as well as reinforce the bonds of scholarship and extend a sense of community,” said Daniel Green, the new director of intercultural and diversity affairs.

Held in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building, the well-attended event featured remarks by Dr. Louis Woods, associate professor of African-American history; December graduate Verinique Bailey, president of the I AM ME Inc. student organization; and Dr. Deb Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost of academic and enrollment services.

Dr. Debra Sells

Dr. Debra Sells

“You have done an extraordinary thing that puts you in a very elite group in the state of Tennessee,” Sells told the students. “And you know the old saying, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’ So we want each of you to go out and be the leaders I know you can be.

Graduating senior Verinique Bailey, center, was one of 40-plus students of color who attended the Intercultural Graduation Reception held Monday, Dec. 7, in the Tom H. Jackson Building at MTSU. At right is Daniel Green, director of the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs. Back left is student Alvin Pike, emcee of the program. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Graduating senior Verinique Bailey, center, was one of 40-plus students of color who attended the Intercultural Graduation Reception held Monday, Dec. 7, in the Tom H. Jackson Building at MTSU. At right is Daniel Green, director of the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs. At left is student Alvin Pike, emcee of the program.

“We are looking to you; we are trusting our futures to you.”

Student Alvin Pike, vice president of the Non-Traditional Student Organization, served as master of ceremony and also had some words of advice.

As an older student, the reflective 38-year-old said, he came to “understand the urgency of now” in getting a degree.

He concluded the reception by quoting legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooten: “You should live like today is your last, and learn like you’re going to live forever.”

For more information about the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, visit www.mtsu.edu/idac, email ida@mtsu.edu or call 615-898-5812.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Daniel Green, director of the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs at MTSU, addresses the crowd of graduating seniors and their supporters at the Intercultural Graduation Reception held Monday, Dec. 7, in the Tom H. Jackson Building at MTSU. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Daniel Green, director of the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs at MTSU, addresses the crowd of graduating seniors and their supporters at the Intercultural Graduation Reception held Monday, Dec. 7, in the Tom H. Jackson Building at MTSU.

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