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Behold 2019 Vol 8 Issue 2

It is with pleasure that I begin this column by extending my gratitude to the Norfolk State University community for welcoming me with loving arms. My experience has been amazing, and I look forward to the bright future that awaits us. I am honored to be a Spartan and privileged to work with incredible students, alumni, faculty and administrators in the furtherance of scholarship and excellence. I also want to take this time to personally thank Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston for her leadership and for her confidence in me.

As I reflect on 2019, the first thought that comes to mind is change, and perhaps more appropriately, transformation. In this issue of BEHOLD, you will learn of the many transformative experiences of members of our community. These individuals have not only transformed themselves, but they have also transformed the environments around them. In doing so, they have left a legacy of accomplishment, dedication, leadership and sacrifice.

One transformer is Dr. Nishan Pressley, O.D., B.S. ’16 (page 23). As a rising star in the field of optometry, Pressley’s impact is noteworthy. Through her work with the Florida Eye Clinic in Orlando, she often sees nearly 20 patients in one day! While at NSU, Pressley earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She later completed an accelerated three-year program at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University. Pressley has another transformative goal—to see more African Americans become optometrists and ophthalmologists. Understanding that patients often feel comfortable with individuals who look like them, Pressley hopes to inspire others towards a path similar to her own.

A rising star advocating for NSU in the political realm is Makhaela French ’20 (page 20). Named a 2019 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, French also worked for the Congressional Black Caucus. Her experiences yielded progress for minority inclusion and small businesses. She attributes her successes to skills attained at NSU while being involved in the Student Government Association. We continue to look forward to Makhaela’s journey as she continues to be an exemplary model of excellence for other NSU students.

We have our own legendary leader, Mr. Marty Miller, Director of Athletics. His 50-year career has brought him many successes, but he has also cultivated success for many of our students. Through Miller’s 22-year tenure as head baseball coach, our baseball team captured 17 CIAA championships leading to NSU’s reputation as a baseball powerhouse. His coaching and mentorship has led to the acclaimed successes of our baseball players. In fact, 22 of them became professional baseball players. In 2003, Miller took on another coaching assignment, but this time, he would be coaching the entire athletics division. Under his leadership, NSU teams and clubs have won numerous MEAC championships and NCAA tournaments—but the greatest wins that Mr. Miller would boast for his student-athletes are in the classroom as evidenced by continued increasing rates of retention and graduation.

These phenomenal leaders have distinguished themselves and the Spartan Community because of their excellence, persistence and adaptability. There are many more leaders featured in this issue of BEHOLD. 

Download or view the PDF version of the 2019 Behold - Volume 8 Issue 2.