At Catholic University, the campus celebrates Black History Month in a way that honors contributions and accomplishments with a series of events and experiences.
In addition, the University’s Center for Cultural Engagement (CCE) provides a variety of Black History Month resources for those who hope to find inspiration or learn more. Students are discovering that encouragement is all around.
“Black alumni, like Jeff Cherry, are role models for me as an African-American girl, and also as a business student,” said first year student Frankie Mansaray. “I feel empowered to dream big and do bigger things by being in a learning environment influenced by such an individual.”
Cherry (B.A. ‘82, M.A. ‘85), a renowned CEO and businessman, is a managing partner of Conscious Venture Fund, and over his years of experience, has received many awards and honors for his contributions to the world of business. He also returned to campus this week as a speaker in the Busch School of Business’ CEO Lecture series.
Mansaray also noted that the University’s Black Student Alliance (BSA) made the campus feel welcoming upon her arrival. BSA president Kayla Tingley and vice president Tyrica Miller inspired Mansaray as Black student leaders. Their mentorship helped Mansaray break free from her shyness. She now can “immediately start and continue conversations without any nerves.”
Tingley is a popular figure on the University’s campus. As BSA president, she is a role model to many young, Black students looking for a place to feel at home. She is a junior sociology major who says she is inspired by many current Black professors on campus.
“Dr. Chy McGhee is one of my most favorite people. She taught the first Africana Studies class last semester,” Tingley said.
McGhee is the director of elementary education at the University. Tingley referred to her as “such an educator and such a mom.” Tingley was enrolled in both her EDUC 251 (Foundations of Education) and AFRI 101 (Introduction to Africana Studies) classes. McGhee was a role model in the way that she made a point to engage Tingley on topics from class. Tingley was able to connect with McGhee as a Black educator.
Tingley also finds inspiration in Dr. Rona Frederick, associate professor of education. They are working together on a student survey to develop an Africana Studies program for the University. By working with other Black professionals to make progress with diversity on campus, BSA hopes to focus on celebrating Black culture for Black History Month.
Tingley has a message for fellow black students.
“Don’t dim your light because you deserve to take up as much space as you want,” Tingley said. “You should be at every seat at the table in whatever way that looks like for you and in whatever capacity you want. While it is hard, in my mind, it was better for me knowing I was unapologetically myself for all of my years here.”