2017 Livingstone College graduate is a survivor

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 11, 2017

By Da’Tarvia Parrish

Livingstone News Service

SALISBURY — Victor Nayituriki aims to find windows of opportunity. In his past, it was a matter of life and death. The 2017 Livingstone College graduate is a survivor.

A native of Kigali, Rwanda, Nayituriki remembers his experience as an 11-year-old child amid a humanitarian crisis. He witnessed explosive violence and brutality in what is known to natives as the genocide of Tutsis and to the world as the Rwandan genocide.

“When the soldiers came back to our house to take my family, I ran in the back of our neighbor’s apartment, climbed in the window and stayed there for three days alone without food or light,” he said.

Throughout his life, he has continued to seek windows of opportunity. Nayituriki applied for the Diversity Visa Program, an annual U.S. government initiative that awards 50,000 green cards to people from all over the world, frequently referred to as the Green Card Lottery.

In 2010, Nayituriki was selected for the program and traveled to the U.S., living in Pennsylvania before moving to Portland, Maine.

“I was a part of God’s plan the entire time,” he said.

In 2010, Eugenie Mukeshimana, a genocide survivor who has dedicated her life to helping others, established the Genocide Survivors Support Network, a charitable organization with a mission to aid genocide survivors in rebuilding their lives and to educate communities about genocide.

Pursuing her mission, Mukeshimana was a speaker at Livingstone College in 2010 where she told college President Jimmy Jenkins of a way he could best help her program. Jenkins committed to giving a scholarship to a genocide survivor.

With the assistance of many, including Mayor Karen Alexander and Racelle Weiman, Nayituriki came to Livingstone College as a Presidential Scholar in August 2013.

As a native French speaker, he wasn’t too sure of his success as a college student. But he knew that his transition to Livingstone College was a window. He believed, “Do the best you can, and God will do the rest.”

Nayituriki excelled as a student. Majoring in computer information systems, he is a 3.8 grade-point-average graduate engaged in several regional and national competitions. Under the leadership of International Affairs Director Earl Brown, Nayituriki and several cohorts — including his good friend Mulbah Gray of Liberia — represented Rwanda and Liberia in a Model United Nations competition in Raleigh. Victor and his team submitted a proposal to competitors granting him permission to answer questions in French.

As a senior, Victor took part in NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with CIS instructor Damein Greatheart. Under Professor Obafemi Balogun and communications project manager Justin Walker, he participated in a class internship with Livingstone College’s Division of Communications and Public Relations, developing the “LC Connect App” to launch in August.

One of his most memorable experiences at Livingstone is when he was a mentor to incoming freshmen in the summer Bridge STEM Program.

“Working with students as a mentor was absolutely rewarding. It didn’t feel like a job. …Our lessons covered in-class and out-of-class experiences, all to enhance the incoming freshmen’s first-year success,” he said.

Nayituriki aspires to become a software developer and wants the world to know he is a Christian who is alive today because of God’s grace and a miraculous window.

“God is a way maker,” he said.