Livingstone students cautioned they need more than education
By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College News Service
CHARLOTTE ó Emmy-winning TV show host Ed Gordon didnít mince words Saturday morning when speaking to college and high school students during the Commemorative Classic Symposium.
ěThe truth of the matter is a college degree does not guarantee a job anymore,î Gordon said. ěSo let me tell you a little bit about the road that gets you to success. Itís important for all of us to understand that none of us gets there alone. That success you will achieve, in part, is due to people who knocked down doors and fought barriers in difficult times. The first debt you owe is to follow through with the work the other generations started.î
Gordon, who hosts a show on BET and has been a correspondent for CBS newsmagazine ě60 Minutesî and a contributor for NBCís ěThe Today Showî and ěDateline,î urged the students to do well academically while cautioning them against social networking.
ěIíve got a 17-year-old daughter, and I tell her to do her homework first and get on Twitter second,î Gordon said. ěDonít get so caught up in the social network that you let the world pass you by. Timing and success will not happen on your clock. What you can control is when that time comes around you should be ready. Know your game. Get it together. Find something that you love and learn it well. Figure out your craft and tighten it up. Tighten your game and be ready for the world.î
During his speech, Gordon repeatedly said: Greatness follows success, success is born of preparation and preparation is initiated by a dream.
ěDream big,î Gordon said. ěWhy would you dream small? Trust me. Everybody from my age up never thought weíd live to see the day that a black man would become president.î
Gordonís remarks came during the final day of the symposium, designed to introduce young males and females of color to positive men and women of color who have done well academically and achieved success. Itís part of The Commemorative Classic, which pits Livingstone College against Johnson C. Smith University, schools with the distinction of having played in the first organized black college football game on Dec. 27, 1892. The historic contest was played in the snow on Livingstoneís front lawn, and Johnson C. Smith ó then named Biddle Memorial Institute ó won the defensive struggle 5-0.
On Saturday, the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls were again victorious, this time defeating the Livingstone Blue Bears 31-0. Former American Idol winner and R&B crooner Ruben Studdard sang the national anthem and also performed at halftime.
Saturdayís Commemorative Classic events began with an Inspirational Breakfast featuring Grammy-winning TV host Dr. Bobby Jones, whose ěBobby Jones Gospelî show is one of BETís biggest programs.
ěYou must have a sincere desire to make a contribution to society,î Jones said. ěFirst of all develop your mind. Become disciplined. Have a desire to do something for someone else.î
Jones also cautioned the students against social media.
ěThe Internet can be a wonderful thing but it can be a demon as well,î Jones said. ěAnd donít waste your time twittering when you need to be studying. Continue to show yourselves as outstanding Ö donít be ordinary. Have respect for yourself. If you respect yourself then you can begin to respect others around you. And donít think because of where you may come from, who your parents are and what your surroundings are that you canít be successful. I am a living witness that you can.î
Before Jones spoke, Livingstone Collegeís Gospel Choir, directed by sophomore Anthony Watson, performed two selections. After his speech, JCSUís University Choir performed. Both choirs were a hit and received standing ovations.
The Commemorative Classic was the brainchild of Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr.
It also featured a Hall of Fame Banquet Friday night during which Larry Lee Jr. and Elroy Duncan were inducted.
ěLivingstone was the only school that gave me a shot,î Lee said in his induction speech. ěAnd I graduated from Livingstone with honors. We have a unique thing here at our HBCUs, and this is history.î
Lee ended his remarks by challenging the football players from Livingstone and Smith to strive for excellence.
ěAlways strive to get on top in life because itís the bottom that’s overcrowded,î he said. ěAnd if youíre not on the way you’re in the way. The greatest thing you young men can do for your coaches and your teachers is when you grow older represent your schools well…î
Duncan, who got emotional several times during his speech, said he was proud to have attended a predominantly black university.
ěJohnson C. Smith has been everything to me,î Duncan said. ěIíve got blue and gold blood running through me.î