Student Success - Groundbreaking Research
Dr. Alex Johnson, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) and the current president of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, will serve as the keynote speaker for the university's 2014 Founder's Day Convocation on Friday, October 17, at 9:45 a.m. in the K. R. Williams Auditorium on campus.
Johnson, who earned his undergraduate degree from WSSU, became the fourth president of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in July 2013. Tri-C was the first community college to open in Ohio and remains the state's oldest and largest public community college. Each year more than 55,000 credit and non-credit students take courses at the school's four traditional campuses, two Corporate College locations, more than 50 off-campus sites and via television and the Internet.
Johnson had previously served as president of Cuyahoga's Metropolitan Campus in downtown Cleveland from 1993 until 2003. He then became chancellor of Delgado Community College in New Orleans, serving in that capacity during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Prior to rejoining Cuyahoga, Johnson was president of the Community College of Allegheny County that serves the greater Pittsburgh area.
WSSU alumnus Stephen A. Smith speaks for himself, literally. The nationally noted sports journalist and social critic is a household name who generally shares his views in a no-holds barred presentation that connects with his audiences, one way or another. Recently, he shared his views on learning to deal with adversity with an audience at the University of Delaware.
Smith urged students to develop a strategy to keep their head in the game when facing serious challenges in their personal lives and professional careers.
"None of you will escape adversity," Smith said. "I don’t care if you are black, white, Asian, Hispanic or Native American. It doesn't matter — adversity is coming your way." He told them they had only two ways to go – "You either climb or you fall."
Nakikia Walton aka MSKeepItMoving, is a native of Kinston, North Carolina, now living in Durham with her family. She is the founder and president of the 501(c)3 non-profit organization K.I.M. (Keep It Moving) 4U, Inc. and is the host of the organization's Blog talk radio show. She is also employed with the Department of Veteran Affairs as a certified medical support assistant and patient advocate liaison.
On April 4, 2011, Walton was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her life's motto is "Keep It Moving." She has since dedicated herself to raising awareness, education and providing advocacy and supportive services to the community regarding MS and other chronic diseases. She shares her experiences raising children, being a wife and her personal journey living with and managing MS and mental illness. She made a choice and she was determined not to let her diagnosis define her or control her life.
Derwin Montgomery is another of many outstanding examples of WSSU grads making a contribution. He is a Winston-Salem City councilman, pastor of a local church, and was recently appointed as executive director of the Bethesda Center, Winston-Salem's largest center for the homeless. Bethesda Center was founded in 1987 and has worked collaboratively for 27 years with other organizations in and around Winston-Salem to provide support services for the homeless.
Montgomery represents the East Ward on the City Council and is the pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church. He has also worked as professional development and parent engagement manager at Family Services, a position he held for a year and a half, and worked for two years at WSSU in the Department of Housing and Residence Life.
WSSU alums also include baritone Clayton G. Williams who had a sold out summer tour through Europe and internationally singer, actor and producer Maria Howell. Winston-Salem's current police chief, Barry Roundtree, is also an alum as is WSSU's current police chief, Pat Norris, who was the first female and first African American police chief in Winston-Salem.
These are but a few examples of WSSU grads making a difference in the lives of those they touch in the communities where they serve in schools, hospitals, corporations and nonprofits.