National Hampton Alumni Association
As I reflect over the past few months, I find myself thinking about the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” With only about two months remaining in this calendar year, we find ourselves almost at the half way marker regarding our ambitious goals. It is a pivotal point in our history with so much work remaining to be done. Yet, our accomplishments mirror our strengths and remind us to be ever grateful during this beautiful season of Thanksgiving. Together, let’s count our blessings - our accomplishments, and remain steadfast as we renew our vows of service to the Hampton University community.
In August, over 200 alumni journeyed to Richmond, VA to attend our 12th Biennial Convention, which was a huge success. The new NHAA, Inc. officers were installed while the past Presidents were acknowledged for their ongoing dedication and commitment. There were plenary sessions, workshops, vendors, an alumni fair, and games with prizes. The State of the University address by Dr. William R, Harvey informed and inspired. The dynamic performance of the more than 75 members of the phenomenal alumni choir under the magnificent direction of our beloved Dr. Roland Carter was masterful and memorable. It was an extra special occasion as we honored Dr. Carter and celebrated his milestone birthday of 75 years. The Biennial concluded with the spiritual blessing of God’s word through our NHAA Chaplain, Rev. Richard Keller, Jr. I look forward to building on the success of the 12th Biennial as we begin the planning for the 13th Biennial Convention in 2018. If you have ideas, let me hear from you.
In October, we experienced another Hampton tradition - Homecoming 2016. Sharing cherished customs with generations of Hamptonians as we reconnected with classmates, friends, and our extended Hampton family was made extra special with our Pirates winning the football game against Morgan State University. Homecoming 2016 also found Hampton joining a number of other colleges and universities around the country with the launch of the first Fan/Tailgate Zone concept implemented by the Athletics Department. While this revenue generating and subsequent recruitment strategy has its merits, I heard the voices of alumni expressing the need for more effective communication for changes of this magnitude. While I shared your comments during my Trustee’s Sub-Committee meeting, any new process involves a learning curve. As your National President, I am requesting your compassion and patience during this building phase of our athletic programs. I am also requesting your input as problem solvers. Let’s identify and offer strategies that will strengthen our University. We need to do what works for Hampton.
In October, I also represented NHAA, Inc., at the Trustee’s Sub-Committee meeting and presented additional alumni concerns regarding the Student Dress Code. The issues were immediately addressed by Dr. Barbara Inman, Vice President for Administrative Services and Student Affairs. After distributing a memo of concern to all students that targeted the issues voiced by the alumni, the Student Leaders implemented an action plan with mandatory meetings at all dormitories to demonstrate appropriate dress, using mini fashion shows. Ongoing presentations occurred during the Orientation 101 classes. Alumni and students must work together to affirm the Hampton pride of steadfast self-respect and respect for others as we represent our university at all times, both on and off campus.
In November, we find the need to measure our success as we celebrate our financial contributions to our “home by the sea.” Initially the challenge of raising $15 million for our alma mater seemed daunting. Yet, the midway point finds us hopeful with donations of over $7,506,000 towards our challenge. It is rewarding to see our motivated alumni partnering with their class leaders financially supporting our alma mater, working toward our collective goal.
I continue to be grateful for the Board of Directors of the NHAA, Inc. Together, we are so appreciative for our phenomenal alumni - for your persistence and dedication as you continue to do such extraordinary work. Because of you, we all pay it forward by providing students with scholarships funds so that one day they too can join our ranks and help with these payments. These are indeed challenging times, often peppered with controversy. Yet, these times are not insurmountable when we stay focused and motivated. As our 150th Anniversary celebration in 2018 draws closer, remember to continue to give, to learn, and to love. As we prepare to celebrate the upcoming holidays, cherish your time with family and friends. Remember to pray for those who may be missing a loved one this holiday season. Let’s pray that God will bless them with the strength and surround them with love and support.
Lastly, during this beautiful season of giving, let us remember to give to those in most need. Let us remember to count our many blessings. Let us continue to dream big dreams. As President Obama reminds us, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” As I look forward to our collective accomplishments in 2017, may God bless you and your loved ones with the sweetness of His Grace and Mercy each and every day.
Enjoy the holidays with a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Prosperous New Year!
Dorothy M Lee-Murray ‘80
National Hampton Alumni Association, Inc.