Make the world better, speaker tells WSSU grads

WSSU photo

Make the world better, speaker tells WSSU grads
May 24
03:30 2018

Although rain showers throughout the week forced the festivities to be moved indoors, the sun seemed to be shining bright as ever inside the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum last Friday morning, May 18, as students from Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) transitioned to alumni status in front of nearly 10,000 family members and loved ones in the audience. 

During the ceremony, WSSU says, the university recognized more than 1,200 graduates, students who earned their degrees in summer and fall of 2017 and spring 2018.In his welcome, Chancellor Elwood Robinson said he was elated to see what the future holds for the Rams as they embark on a new chapter in their lives. He said, “Graduates as you cross the stage today, you will be taking the first step into your future, a future that has been transformed thanks to your time here at Winston-Salem State University.”

For graduate Rasheeda Shankle, graduation day was the culmination of years of hard work and a chance to reflect on her success. Shankle, the CEO of a local nonprofit dedicated to helping single mothers, said considering the obstacles she had to overcome when she walked across the stage, all she could do was thank God and her son Zadis, who she says is her inspiration. 

“There were nights when I felt that I could no longer handle all three but my son and the community’s need continuously motivated me to continue on,” she said. “I knew I had people depending on me and I couldn’t let them down.” 

Shankle is currently studying for the GMAT and has plans to attend Wake Forest University to receive her master’s degree. She will also continue to work with the nonprofit. 

City native Calvin Gamble, who graduated with honors with a degree in sports management, said when he walked across the stage he felt a sense of relief. 

A business owner and father of two, Gamble customized his black graduation gown to honor his sons. Centered around a photo of his children, on the back of Gamble’s robe read; “I honor them so I graduated with honors.”

He said, “To be a true king and to be great you have to be able to face any and every challenge that life brings.” 

During the keynote address, Byron Pitts told the Class of 2018 to continue living the dream. Pitts, an Emmy-award winning journalist whose first cousin is a 1989 WSSU graduate, told the class of 2018 they are blessed to have attended a university where “giants have roamed.” 

He said, “You didn’t just earn a college degree from any old school. For generations this school, your school, has produced leaders in every industry. 

“… Class of 2018, with a degree from Winston-Salem State University comes responsibility. How will each of you etch your name in her history?” 

Pitts, who currently serves as the chief national correspondent for ABC News and is joining Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh as a Scholar-in-Residence, went on to discuss his personal struggles with being illiterate until the age of 12 and how his mother pushed him to defy the odds. 

“Today you have made your families proud because you have graduated. Now go and make the world better because you lived.” 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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