Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and renewal as we gather with family and friends.
Looking back on the past year, we have a multitude of accomplishments to be thankful for at Johnson C. Smith University. We have been blessed this past year with the ability to move forward with the construction of thenew Science Center and have opened new doors to progress in the West End with Mosaic Village, theHealthPlex, Sustainability Village and the George E. Davis House restoration project.
Through the generosity of The Duke Endowment, alumni, trustees and an anonymous donor, we are able to start closing the financial gap that caught many students and their families unprepared after the U.S. Department of Education tightened criteria for the Parent PLUS Loan.
I am also grateful for the advancements made in our $150 million comprehensive campaign, “Tomorrow is What WE Make It,” which approaches the $100 million mark. We appreciate all who have contributed during this first phase of the campaign to aid our enrollment strategy, create a vibrant campus experience and enhance JCSU’s academic resources.
As a close-knit community where open dialogue and collaboration exist among all of our entities, we remain equipped and ready to solve tough problems. I am painfully aware of the implications recent financial issues and government policies have had on our entire campus. As predicted, they have created hardships for all institutions, especially HBCUs, given the number of students who depend on federal aid.
To all who have helped the University successfully navigate through the past several months, I am truly grateful. Thanks to your steadfast support and resilience, we are able to recover, reimagine and restructure so that our Mission-In-Vision as a new independent urban university may continue to forge ahead.
In the coming months, I encourage students to remain focused on their educational goals with confidence, knowing that academic, financial, emotional and spiritual support is available at JCSU. I applaud the efforts of those who are giving their time and resources to serve our students, whether it means stocking a care closet, donating business attire, advising and counseling students or providing funds to purchase books. I appreciate the tenacity and resourcefulness of our faculty, staff and students as we all work together to smash the mold of the status quo and find ways to emerge even stronger in 2014.
The bonds formed in 1867 as men came together to build a tradition of educational excellence continue to inspire us at JCSU. It is their sacrifices and leadership that can motivate us to become agents of change. As the Iroquois Nation’s Great Law instructs its leaders, “in every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation.” Such long-term thinking is what is needed to sustain our world.
Best wishes as you celebrate this time of feasting, fellowship and rejuvenation. May this Thanksgiving be a time to acknowledge and appreciate the good deeds of others around you.
Dr. Ronald L. Carter