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Behold 2018 Vol 7 Issue 2

According to author B.J. Neblett, “We are the sum total of our experiences.” He says that experiences, whether good or bad, shape who we become across the seasons of our lives.

In this issue of Behold, the experiences of the individuals featured in our articles are crucial to who they are, what they have become and what is important to them. Through their experiences, we are able to draw lessons from how each experience sparked an initiative, helped them learn new insights and skills or find a way to push beyond what they previously achieved.

So often, life presents harsh and difficult realities that can keep us down if we let them. Yet many have triumphed over events that could have crushed them. One such person is Mona Gunn ’74. She fought through the pain of a horrific tragedy that allowed her to encourage and lift up others (page 16). By opening her heart to those who also lost a child, she has been encouraged and uplifted. In June 2019, Gunn will make history as the national president of the Gold Star Mothers…the first African-American to do so.

We also highlight five Norfolk State students who embarked on summer internships. The experiences and lessons they learned will undoubtedly shape their careers and professional lives. Read about where they worked, what they learned and the advice that they are offering to others (page 10). Sometimes, we tackle experiences that challenge and seem to push us beyond our limits… only to discover that perseverance brings gratification, which can serve as an inspiration for others. That was the impetus that found Jermaine Jackson ’97 battling frigid temperatures and the threat of bears in the Tennessee wilderness (page 24). Jackson wanted to mitigate old stereotypes while also honoring his father who taught him to hunt, fish and live off the land.

Then there’s the desire to pass on traditions that have shaped us and nurtured us. That is the goal of the university-wide initiative launched by Dr. Carl W. Haywood ’71 (page 20). He fondly remembers what it was like to be a student at Norfolk State, the attention he received from his professors, the Spartan Pride that permeated the campus and the Esprit de Corps the University enjoyed with the community. Haywood wanted to instill those intangibles into a new generation of students, faculty, staff and community. Through his desire came the inspiration for the NSU: Valuing People, Minds and Traditions campaign. This new initiative, along with other events and activities, has helped create a new vibrancy and energy across campus and with our community partners.

As we look forward to 2019, it is my hope that the resilience of Mona Gunn, the determination of Jermaine Jackson, the desire of Carl Haywood and the lessons learned by our student interns will inspire you to reflect upon how your life experiences have shaped who you are and what you have achieved. From my own life, I found that each experience (whether good or challenging) has made my life more meaningful and better equipped me to serve others. I am confident this is true for you as well. 

Download or view the PDF version of the 2018 Behold - Volume 7 Issue 2.

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