August 25, 2008
Best-Selling Author Steve Perry Challenges
Class of 2012 to Make Self-Improvements and Add to 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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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."
advisor and coordinator of Student Life and Development,
Desmond Stowe complimented the class on their "energy and
willingness to lead."
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."
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.
University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
1570 Baltimore Pike, P.O. Box 179, Lincoln University, PA 19352 \