Parents' Weekend focused on families and students


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (October 14, 2012) — Tuskegee parents and families visited the university Friday through Sunday for annual Parents’ Weekend activities. Saturday, they were welcomed to a breakfast and addressed by Gilbert L. Rochon, Tuskegee University president, in the ballroom of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Tuskegee University. 

“It’s a joint effort to try and get our students ready for the world,” said Peter Spears, dean of students. “This is why we have this and it’s so important to have that merge between families and the university to examine each other and make sure we’re doing the right thing for their sons and daughters.”

Fitzgerald B. Bramwell 
During the breakfast themed, “Tuskegee University and Parents: Expanding our Global Horizons,” Rochon shared the history of the institution and its far-reaching influence on other schools in the nation and abroad. He also shared details of recent progress in academic programs, campus construction and research. Rochon also discussed the ongoing capital campaign, the largest in the institution’s history. He said that Tuskegee has been fortunate in weathering a tough economy, but the institution still has a long way to go to realize future plans for growth and research capability. 

“We want to make sure we can raise the kinds of funds needed for scholarships for students, for improved dormitories; for faculty advancement; and opportunities for establishing endowed chair professorships,” Rochon said

Showing support

Parents, Michael Hodges and Willa Woods-Hodges of Mabelton, Ga., said they came to Parents Weekend to support the university and their child. Their daughter, Jessica Hodges is a freshman sales and marketing major. They said they were impressed with information they got during Rochon’s address.

“The vision is not only broad, but it is a viable and feasible vision,” Michael Hodges said. 

Parents Weekend was a familiar event to Katherine Laster of Albany, Ga. This was the third time for the mother of Kyhiel Lockhart, a junior aerospace engineering major. She said she enjoys the event’s welcoming family atmosphere. 

“It’s important to let your kids see that you are interested in their development, their academic journey” Lockhart said. “I think it makes a difference in his grades knowing that I communicate with his professors.” 

Parents and students honored

Tuskegee University recognized its high academic achievers during the 87th Annual Scholarship Convocation held Sunday in the University Chapel. The dean of the College of Arts and Sciences addressed the program that honored students named to the Honor Roll, Eminent Scholars and University Scholars. In his address, Fitzgerald B. Bramwell urged the audience to have a dream and “never surrender your right to think to anyone.” 

Using the biblical story of David and Goliath, Bramwell illustrated the power of belief in personal dreams and how persistence can help a vision become a reality. He said it was important to believe in your own abilities and not to let others slowly manipulate your aspirations in misguided protection efforts. He also said it was imperative that future Tuskegee graduates have no fear of leaving protective confines so they can achieve greater accomplishments. 

“You’ve been given the tools at this university. Sharpen those tools and make them work for you,” Bramwell said. “Don’t leave them behind when you graduate… Use those to shape the way that you think so that you can realize your own dreams.” 

After the honor students received their recognitions, Spears presented the 2012 Parents of the Year. Tuskegee alumni, Larry H. Jemison, Sr. and Elizabeth Haynes Jemison, are this year’s recipients. Larry H. Jemison, Sr. was a marketer for British Petroleum North America and Elizabeth Jemison is an educator in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The couple founded the Annual Tuskegee University Homecoming Golf Classic, which provides student scholarships. For the past nine years, they have also volunteered their service to the Adopt-a-Dorm program. And, they collaborated with the inaugural Inner-City Classic Committee. 

“Mr. and Mrs. Jemison, by putting children first; serving your community; and supporting your alma mater, you serve as successful role models who value education and service,” Spears said.

2012 Parents of the Year and Tuskegee University President, Gilbert L. Rochon.

Rochon shakes hands with an honor student during the scholarship convocation.
Rochon greets a parent during the annual Parents' Weekend breakfast.
Rochon greets another parent during the annual Parents' Weekend breakfast.
Student poses with family member after the scholarship convocation.

© 2012 Tuskegee University

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