HAMPTON, Va. (Sept. 24, 2017) – Hampton University’s 75th Annual Convocation Ceremony was as much celebration as commemoration. This year’s event officially marks the start of Hampton University’s 150-year legacy and President Dr. William R Harvey’s 40 years of legendary leadership.
From the Hampton University Symphonic Choir to Dr. Harvey’s speech to comments by keynote speaker Calvin L. Butts, Jr., not one person in the packed auditorium of the historic Ogden Hall walked away without feeling inspired.
Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck and Congressman Bobby Scott also attended the opening ceremony as honored guests.
During the morning's festivies, Dr. Harvey honored Dr. Sylvia Rose and Dr. Karen Turner Ward with Hampton University's 2016-17 Distinguished Teaching Awards. Dr. Rose is an Assistant Professor of Accounting, Investment Banking, and Finance in the School of Business. Dr. Ward is the Chair of Hampton University's Department of Fine and Performing Arts.
Dr. Harvey reminded the gathering that he doesn’t see his leadership role at Hampton University as work. After 40 years at the helm of Hampton University, Dr. Harvey continues to seek out its next challenge.
“My presidency long ago ceased being a job for me and became a way of life,” Harvey said. “And, I will continue to dream no small dreams.”
Dr. Harvey also charged this year’s seniors with remembering that their final year at Hampton University is not the end of their journey.
“Don’t think that now that you are a senior that you are all grown up and you can do whatever you want,” he said. “It doesn’t work like that.”
No one understands those words better than keynote speaker Calvin L. Butts Jr.
The Hampton University alumnus (’02) studied Dr. Harvey’s business tactics and leadership, which helped Butt’s become the man he is today.
Butts is a healthcare and pharmaceutical strategist as well as co-founder of #HamptonNation. He was inducted last year to Hampton University’s inaugural Alumni Forty Under 40.
During his address, Butts said that being a student at Hampton University taught him how to take his strengths and weaknesses and use them to achieve his goals in life.
“I grew up with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and had always been told to concentrate on one thing at a time,” Butts said. “At Hampton University, I learned to embrace what had been a weakness. I learned to do many things at the same time.”
He gave the Convocation audience three charges: Hard work is not enough; surround yourself with more people, not less; and be a provider for solutions.
Butts’ strongest charge to students was: “Stop communicating with your fingers if you want to succeed.” That comment drew raucous applause from the audience, which includes parents, faculty and staff.
“You have to get off your phones, get off your fingers and build relationships,” he said.
Dr. Harvey, though, may have had the most poignant comment: “Bad choices can cause you to miss your season to excel.
“Life is not a game of chance, it’s a game of choice,” Harvey said, and drew a roar of applause when he said, “Choose wisely.”