Nearly 2,000 prospective students show up for Spring Open House


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (March 26, 2012) — Tuskegee University’s annual Spring Open House drew a crowd of about 1,900 prospective students from around the country. On Saturday, visitors were introduced to the university’s academic programs, campus life and admission requirements during a day packed with information sessions and entertainment.

During remarks at the opening session in the University Chapel, Cynthia D. Sellers, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management mentioned the many states that visitors had traveled from, including: Arizona, California, Maryland, New York and Texas.

“We are pleased to see so many of you today,” Sellers told the crowd in the packed chapel. “This indicates you have a genuine interest in being part of the Tuskegee University family.”

High school senior Matthew Hope and his parents traveled from St. Louis to get a closer look at Tuskegee’s engineering programs. Hope said he was really impressed with the sense of cooperation on campus while his parents were thrilled with the caliber of the university’s students.

“They have direction. They are very intelligent and focused,” His mother, Caprice Hope, said about the students she met.

Campus ambassadors                         

Senior Bruce James was one of dozens of Tuskegee students who participated in activities to welcome and inform visitors. The chemistry major that serves as Second Gentleman to Mr. Tuskegee University took on multiple duties that included acting in a skit, emceeing the midday entertainment and stepping in a fraternity performance. He said he felt compelled to help with open house because he feels the event represents the future of his university.

“I want (visitors) to leave here and have the same pride in our school that we do,” said the Bainbridge, Ga. native.

The Tuskegee University Police Department staff wore many hats as well during the day. In addition to providing security, the officers were a source of information and hospitality for many. They helped to shuttle older and disabled visitors between locations and answered questions.

One curious parent from Chicago stopped Assistant Chief of Police Jennifer Jordan to inquire about campus security and bullying. She gave him details of how safety issues are handled on the campus as well as ensured him of how seriously she and the department consider their duty.

“I have a son who goes here. So if it’s not safe for him, it’s not safe for anyone,” Jordan told the parent. “We try very hard to make it as safe as possible.”

Passing it on

Sellers credited alumni for helping to bring in so many prospective students to the university.

“We’re very pleased with the cooperation and support we receive from our alumni,” Sellers said. We have numerous alums and alumni clubs who bring groups of students.”

Carl Raye (Class of 1969) of San Jose, Calif., has brought prospective students to visit Tuskegee for 25 years. While he came to this year’s open house with a group of 13, he estimated that he has brought about 400 young people to visit his alma mater over the years. 

“Basically, it’s to motivate kids to seek higher education,” Raye said. “Usually with tours, the kids’ grade point averages improve after they visit so it helps them to do well in school.”

With a group of 29 students in tow, C. Leon Lee (Class of 1979) of Fayetteville, N.C., described himself as an “unpaid and committed volunteer recruiter” for Tuskegee. He said he brings students to Tuskegee so they can see that a higher education is obtainable and to experience an environment where they can succeed.

“Whenever we bring students, it is to submerge them in an ambience of vision,” said Lee, who has been bringing students to visit the university for eight years.

© 2012 Tuskegee University

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