Abena Myers-Taylor has found that many of her duties as Tuskegee’s dean of student life include pouring love, support, and knowledge into students. However, her primary role also includes providing direction for the Student Union, Royal Court, Student Government Association, and New Student Orientation. Taylor stands on the mission of promoting diversity and ensuring a positive environment essential to student success.
Living the legacy
For Taylor, a proud Tuskegee alumna, said returning to her roots meant the world to her. For her, there is nothing greater than having the opportunity to see her dreams as a student come to fruition through her professional career.
“I have always had the desire and goal to return to Mother Tuskegee in an administrative capacity that would allow me to have an influence on the student body,” she said. “I enjoy reminiscing while also creating new memories with students, faculty and staff.”
Taylor began her Tuskegee tenure in January 2017, and has been relentlessly working ever since to ensure students understand the relationship between academics and campus activities.
“I have the privilege of being engaged in our student’s developmental process from their time as a new incoming student to a graduating senior to becoming productive alumni — and I have the opportunity to share in their moments here at Tuskegee,” Taylor said. “One objective I strive to reach is making their time as a student feel just as rewarding as my time as a Tuskegee student was for me.”
Taylor says being actively involved with students is one of the “perks” of her job, however, it is also one of her gravest responsibilities.
“The balance between being friendly yet stern is necessary. I hope that students say Dean Taylor is really cool, but she doesn’t play — she’s by the book,” she noted. “I personally take the position of being visible and having a hands-on approach with the students in order to develop trust and rapport that ensures a positive learning and living environment.”
Throughout her involvement with student life comes with a commitment of service –– not just to the university, but to students as well.
“There’s an expectation students have of me — they expect me to be prepared and equipped with the knowledge and leadership to guide them in the right direction,” she noted.
Because of her tireless dedication and willingness to support students, she has gained countless memories while watching students grow.
“One of my most memorable experiences as dean has been having the pleasure of watching the 88th Miss Tuskegee University, Jessica Dedeaux, make her emotional farewell speech at the culmination of her reign,” Taylor recalled. “Her speech embodied her humble spirit — the sacrifice and hard work that I was privy to witness on a personal level.”
A Welcoming Spirit
Taylor says she is eager to welcome new students to campus as they are set to arrive in the coming weeks. She wants to remind all students that Tuskegee is an academically challenging institution with a rigorous course of study and an enduring legacy.
“The ‘Tuskegee Experience’ is a compilation of academic prowess, emotional steadiness, spiritual relevance and a touch of fun,” Taylor summarized. “Our legacy of knowledge, leadership and service is an expectation that is displayed throughout the campus.”
She noted that this year’s new-student orientation theme is the “Golden Tiger Experience,” and the motto for the July 16-20 event is “Today is a Great Day to Be a Golden Tiger!” She has been preparing for the past several weeks for the annual orientation, which will include several events geared to inform, interact with and inspire incoming students.
“The Office of Student Life wants students to be knowledgeable, engaged and aware that every piece of information received during orientation will ensure a smooth transition to Tuskegee University, while making the ‘Golden Tiger Experience’ one they will not forget.”
To learn more about new student orientation week, visit https://www.tuskegee.edu/new-student-orientation.