By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College News Service
Dr. Faleese Moore-Jenkins, wife of Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr., was honored recently for her service to the community during the Women Who Lead Luncheon sponsored by the United Negro College Fund.
Held June 25 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, the luncheon featured renowned poet, author, professor and actress Dr. Maya Angelou, and recognized several women who demonstrate exemplary leadership in their communities and professions.
Before the luncheon a “Morning Glory Affair” was held, during which time attendees shopped, participated in a silent auction and had the chance to take part in the “HATitude!” revue — a contest with prizes in four categories: whimsical, sassy, dressy and “baddest.”
The luncheon was preceded by the Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Excellence Awards dinner, which honored women in education and was held at The Mint Museum in uptown Charlotte on June 24.
During the luncheon, Moore-Jenkins was praised for her role as first lady.
“I consider it an honor, privilege and duty to have provided supportive leadership for my husband as a college first lady for the past 26 years by participating in various civic and social organizations in the community as well as at the colleges and universities where he has served as president or chancellor,” Moore-Jenkins said while accepting her award.
Moore-Jenkins was hardly a novice to The Women Who Lead luncheon, having attended several times in the past.
“But even though I’d attended the luncheon before, I never, ever dreamed I’d be one of the people chosen as a recipient,” she said. “I was very impressed with the luncheon and the dinner. Both events were wonderful and the food was great. I think the concept behind the dinner and luncheon is good because we have to be role models for young people. You should always try to do the best you can so somebody will look at you and say ‘I want to be like her.’ ”
Moore-Jenkins’ husband, their daughter, attorney Ginger Jenkins Cartwright, and other Livingstone College administrators attended the luncheon to support her.
“My wife has supported me unequivocally for 26 years while I’ve been a college president or chancellor, and she has been by my side on numerous occasions when I’ve been recognized for various accomplishments,” Jenkins said. “It made me feel good to be the one sitting in the audience watching her get recognized. She is a tremendous asset to me, our family, Livingstone College and to all of the young people with whom she has come in contact. She is serious about education and trying to help improve the lives of young people. I am so glad the UNCF officials saw fit to publicly acknowledge and thank her for her hard work because she deserves it.”
Moore-Jenkins, an education consultant, has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Elizabeth City State University, a master’s degree in special education from Old Dominion University and an Ed.D. in educational administration from Virginia Tech. As a consultant she assists others who are charged with helping students learn.
Simply put, she’s passionate about educating young people and inspiring them to achieve greatness.
“What I try to do is lend my years of experience and expertise to help others do a good job as far as relating to students in the learning process,” Moore-Jenkins said. “I have had experience from kindergarten to the university level, and my training is from pre-k to educational administration to higher education.”
Moore-Jenkins was the director of teacher education at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla., and was responsible for placing the college’s teacher education majors at different schools in the system and monitoring their progress. She often attends Livingstone College events, particularly when they’re sponsored by the education department.
Like her husband, she believes education is the fastest key to upward mobility and cannot stress the importance of education enough.
“I want young people to know they need to train themselves so they’ll be available for jobs because the first thing prospective employers will say is ‘I would hire you but you don’t have a degree,’ ” Moore-Jenkins said. “Or they’ll say ‘I would hire you but you don’t have a master’s degree, or I would hire you but you don’t have a Ph.D.’ We need to focus on education with our young people. We must somehow get them to understand how vitally important it is to be educated in today’s global society.”
Vilma Leake, a graduate of Livingstone College, received the Lifetime Achievement Award during the luncheon. Leake, a member of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, is also a former member of the Mecklenburg County School Board. She was honored by Angelou for her distinguished leadership in education.