Mr. Tuskegee University and Gentlemen 2003-04

TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY, AL — (May 15, 2003) — Though the 118th Commencement Exercises marked the unofficial end of the 2002-03 academic year, at least three men of Tuskegee are looking ahead to the next school year.

Kenneth DeShields II, Corey Trusty and Sylvester Richmond are the 2003-04 Mr. Tuskegee University and Gentlemen and are hoping to use their positions to make a difference at Tuskegee in the near future.

"Mr. Tuskegee University is the epitome of the ideal Black Man," said DeShields, a sales and marketing major from Moss Point, Miss. The tenor section leader for the Golden Voices Concert Choir added, "I look forward to serving the Tuskegee University community by utilizing my platform, ‘ Focus, Faith, Fellowship.’"

DeShields and Trusty were elected by the student body during campus-wide elections in March. Richmond, the second gentlemen to Mr. Tuskegee, was later selected as the first gentlemen ever to be appointed in the six-year history of the Mr. Tuskegee crown.

The talented trio was officially installed last month during the final meeting of the Student Officer’s Council. The annual gathering, which is hosted by the first family of Tuskegee – President and Mrs. Benjamin F. and Thelma Payton – occurs at the presidential mansion, Grey Columns.

Newly elected members of the Student Government Association, Campus Digest student newspaper, Tuskeana yearbook and TUTV broadcast station were on hand, along with the newly crowned Miss Tuskegee and Court, and members of the University’s didactic administration.

"We will work diligently with Miss Tuskegee and her court to raise the standard of excellence and continue to 'lift the veil of ignorance,'" noted DeShields, who succeeds David P. Logan of Detroit, Mich., as Mr. Tuskegee.

Logan, a senior sales and marketing major who was elected the incoming SGA President, admonished all of Tuskegee’s student leaders to never forget that they were elected by the students to be servants. "Service,’ he said, "is the fabric which dresses and addresses the needs of the student body."

"The position of Mr. Tuskegee University has become one of great respect and prestige…and has become a key part of student leadership at Tuskegee University," added Logan quelling misconceptions about Mr. Tuskegee’s utility.

Trusty, a biology major and a native of Norfolk, Va., said, "It is not often you share the same drive for empowerment, service and upward mobility as those who surround you. To serve with these gentlemen – these outstanding Black men – will be an experience not to be forgotten."

Richmond, quoting famed physician Dr. Benjamin Carson, agreed and added, "we are responsible for the choices that we make. We should take advantage of the opportunities afforded us."  Richmond is an aerospace science engineering major from Oklahoma City, Okla.

Second Attendant to Miss Tuskegee University 2002-03 Saleemah Y. Rasheed, knows exactly how important it is to "seize the day."

"My four years in the SGA and as a member of the Court have been full of invaluable experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life," said Rasheed, a senior psychology major from Brockton, Mass. "I feel honored to have served the students of Tuskegee during this important period and I am glad to call Tuskegee home."

DeShields, Trusty, Richmond and Logan plan to develop their strategies for success over the summer and return to Tuskegee ready and willing to serve as advocates for Tuskegee’s students. The men will be formally introduced to the student body Sept. 7 during the Annual Fall Convocation.

For more information about becoming involved with the work of the Student Government Association, or to be apart of the efforts of Mr. Tuskegee and Gentlemen, contact Mrs. Minnie Austin, Director of Student Life, at (334) 727-8837.