Go Jags! I obtained my undergraduate degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in December of 2000. I have fond memories of being a Jaguar! The HBCU experience is like none other. Memorable moments for me included pledging in the Beta Psi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; my involvement with the Model United Nations Club; a study abroad trip to Orizaba, Mexico; countless hours spent in Higgins Hall; LaCumba; the Bayou Classic; learning the valuable lesson that patience is a virtue, and that patience should be exercised when dealing with the financial aid office! I graduated from Southern University in political science with honors, but what I took away from the “Bluff” was more than a degree; I left equipped with life tools that I’m still employing today; and lots of great friends too! – Tiffany Hill
Renee James reflects on her HBCU experience:
Although I grew up in the northeast side of Oklahoma City, I never considered attending Langston University. I was 23 years old at the time. I had a son already and I was pregnant with my second child. I had been adopted by my paternal grandmother and would be her first child to attend college. I wasn’t sure if it was even possible for me to obtain a college degree but I knew I wanted to make my mom proud because of all she had endured to ensure that my sister and I were not a part of the juvenile court system.
From the moment I stepped on the Langston University campus I felt empowered. However there was a transformation that had to take place. I came with my hair in big braids, unprofessional dress, oh- and pregnant! I have always been a talker so of course I arrived loudly voicing my opinion. Langston University shaped me by providing opportunities for me to build upon my strengths. I had a love for computers and was able to get a job in the computer lab on campus. This allowed me to interact with students while also learning more about my chosen field; I even earned extra money by typing papers for other students. Through my involvement with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) I learned to write resumes, how to interview and other important aspects of professional development. I also had multiple opportunities to present and conduct meetings, which added to my confidence in public speaking.
When I reflect upon my college experience happy thoughts come to mind such as presenting at a computer science conference where I represented Langston in Puerto Rico; being recognized by my professors for my work ethic and academic excellence, etc. But my most memorable moment was when I earned my degree in Computer Science and my mom was there to witness me walk across the stage. Her baby girl graduated Magna Cum Laude! I made her proud and she finally had her college graduate, an opportunity that hadn’t yet been afforded to anyone else in our family. I was a part of history for our family, and Langston University made it possible for me.
One of the main reasons I am currently involved with the Alumni Association is because while I was a student on campus, the Alumni Affairs office explained the importance of alumni giving and its role in helping the University to move forward. As a graduating senior I recall thinking, “I want to do that. I want to give back to the place that helped me to find my way.”
Ms. Renee James currently resides in Dallas, TX. She is a devastating diva and active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She serves as National Secretary of the Dallas chapter of the Langston University National Alumni Association and remains active with her alma mater by engaging in student recruitment. Renee says, “I love watching future Lions get their letters of acceptance to the University. I enjoy making it happen for them.”
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