Saint Augustine’s University officially opened the 2013-2014 academic with its annual fall convocation ceremony with keynote presenter, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP.
Throughout his speech, Rev. Barber provided the audience with an emotional walk through history of events that have shaped our country. He carefully painted a picture that challenged everyone in the Emery Gymnasium to do more — now.
“Here we are today, 237 years ago, the Declaration of Independence was signed; 148 years ago the Civil War ended; in 1867, the doors of Saint Augustine’s University opened; in 1953, the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed killing four little black girls; and 53 years ago we had the sit-ins in Greensboro,” Rev. Barber said. “Here we are today, what will you do now in the times in which we live. It’s your time to do something, now!”
Before taking his seat, Rev. Barber challenged the Saint Augustine’s University student body to be the best students that they could be, put Saint Augustine’s University on the forefront of social justice, build a great NAACP chapter, engage themselves with the issues of today and to register everybody on SAU campus to vote.
“Live with some character not with craziness,” said Rev. Barber, whose father is a graduate of Saint Augustine’s University. “You only get one shot, so do your best. As young as you are, as gifted as you are, as smart as you are, it’s time for you to stand up.” Jayelyn Richardson, a freshman from Los Angeles, Calif., said he felt uplifted after hearing Rev. Barber’s message.
“His message was very inspirational,” Richardson said. “He made me want to work harder.”
Brittany Dunigan, a native of Chicago, Ill. and a senior majoring in biology, echoed Richardson’s comments.
“He [Rev. Barber] was very motivating and inspirational,” Dunigan said. “I know that I have to make sure I stay on my path in pursuing a career in the medical field.”
President Dianne Boardley Suber closed out the ceremony by giving words of wisdom to the entire student body.