DENMARK - Voorhees College held its annual honors college induction ceremony during which 45 students were inducted into the W. Franklin Evans Honors College. This year’s keynote speaker was Alice Carson Tisdale, first lady of Claflin University.
In addition to being the first lady, Tisdale serves as the director of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College at Claflin. She spoke to the Voorhees community about this year’s ceremony theme, “The Promise.”
Tisdale advised students to focus on the vision and the promise of their individual futures. She said promise and vision may be small words but they have big meaning. Students today need to open their eyes, imagine and act, Tisdale said.
“I was introduced to the Jim Crow laws at an early age not realizing the significance of an education until later. It was my promise to be instrumental in uplifting others carry out my own vision through teaching,” she said.
Tisdale said when she was a college student, she realized her former teachers were preparing her all along to study hard in order to conquer the world and overcome life’s challenges.
“My teachers gave me visions and assurances. Back then, I was disadvantaged and at risk as a young African-American woman and was unaware. Education puts a whole new perspective on life, instilling self-worth, promise and the ability to leave my mark in the world,” she said.
She encouraged the students to open their eyes, telling them they are the future leaders of tomorrow.
“You all are what we have been looking for to change some of the issues of today such as racism, voting, gun control, sexual identity and gender inequality," Tisdale told them. "The list goes on and on, and as HBCU students, you have a certain kind of magic and abilities to make some extraordinary changes."
Then Tisdale said students need to imagine the endless opportunities they can achieve from their predecessors.
“Think of the first black film director, president, actress, astronaut, who were all inspired by a vision and they laid the foundation down. I encourage you all to imagine the vision of what it takes to become the people that change social injustices,” she said.
Finally, Tisdale told the students that after they have opened their eyes and imagined their visions, it is then time to act on them. She said it is one thing to want or wish for things in society to be different, but it is another to actually do something about it.
“Students, do not be discouraged. As long as you get your education and assume your positions to fulfill your promises, you will be on the right track," Tisdale said. "It is not about the size of the dog in a fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."