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August 25, 2008

Best-Selling Author Steve Perry Challenges Class of 2012 to Make Self-Improvements and Add to Lincoln University's Legacy

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA ~ Dr. Steve Perry, founder of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, CT and author of Man Up, delivered a motivational speech to Lincoln University's newly inducted class of 2012 on Sunday, August 17th, 2008. The theme of the Rites of Passage ceremony was clear: change.

"It's about what you will do, not what you have done," the dedicated community activist said. "Our worst enemy is us."

Steve Perry set the theme for his address with a captivating story about two childhood friends who chose two different paths of life: one the college life and the other a life in "street pharmaceuticals." As the story unfolded the college student reached his senior year and landed himself in a financial slump. Giving in to defeat, he packed his belongings and headed home. After an offer from his childhood friend, which he refused, and the realization that the only thing stopping him from achieving his dreams was one more year of college, he marched into his university"s president office. He was determined to stay. Pleading his case, the college student vowed to do anything to remain in school. The president made the student promise to "transform the lives of others," if the favor was granted.

The Mary Dod Memorial Chapel roared with applause as Dr. Perry revealed that the story just told was his own and was the reason that he stood in front of the auditorium that Sunday.

"It's about relationships," Perry said. "The one you have with yourself and those you allow yourself in. Administrators have the 'know how' and students have the talent. It's important to build that relationship."

Perry has been dedicated to the community long before he received his master's degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. During his undergraduate years at the University of Rhode Island, he worked for a U.S. senator, mayor and a presidential candidate. After graduation, he served as the director of a homeless shelter.

His current focus is on preparing low-income high school students for college. His efforts in promoting educational access for low-income students and fighting sexual violence have been awarded on both regional and national levels. He has also been a candidate for state representative.

He charged the freshmen class with the responsibility to learn Lincoln's legacy and develop it. He established the importance of branding oneself just as Lincoln branded itself as a university of prestige. "You are doing something so powerful in one of the nation's most respected institutions. You are here because you bring forth the power of generations gone by."

There is no question that this entering class will take heed to this advice. Jerryl Briggs, Dean of Students and Campus Life said, "I've noticed the growth in you just over this past week alone."

Class advisor and coordinator of Student Life and Development, Desmond Stowe complimented the class on their "energy and willingness to lead."

Excited to embrace her challenge, newly voted 2012 class president, Chanelle Norway said, "I believe that our class will be the class of liberal change. I see great things. Barack Obama is known as a candidate for great change; well the class of 2012 is about to get its 'Barack' on."

As all 550 freshmen ladies and men, decked out in all white and all black respectively, waited to take their vow of upholding Lincoln's legacy, Perry concluded with another anecdote and said, "Success can be thrust upon you but, be ready when it comes."

Founded in 1854, Lincoln University is a premier, historically Black University that combines the best elements of a liberal arts and sciences-based undergraduate core curriculum and selected graduate programs to meet the needs of those living in a highly technological and global society.  The University is nationally recognized as a major producer of African Americans with undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences (biology, chemistry and physics); computer and informational sciences; biological and life sciences.  Lincoln has an enrollment of 2,423 undergraduate and graduate students.

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