Unveiling Excellence: Acknowledging The Past & Excited For The Future

Black History Month is a time where people recognize the contributions African Americans made to make this country a better place.

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Unveiling Excellence: Acknowledging The Past & Excited For The Future
Black history month
Wayne Dawes

Black History Month is a time when black excellence is highlighted, as well as the achievements and goals that people from the black diaspora have accomplished. It is also a great way to remember historic pioneers who fought for the equal rights of African Americans. Kean University prides itself on being one of the country’s most diverse universities, and lots of students on campus feel represented because of the inclusive environment.

Jazaan Walsh is a senior majoring in Biology with a minor in African Studies, from East Orange, New Jersey. Jazaan reflects on how he feels represented here at Kean as an African American.

"I definitely do feel represented here at Kean, especially with President Repollet. I think he does a great job at broadcasting the African American community on campus and making sure we’re seen, tended to, and all the things above," said Walsh.

Over the years, Kean has increased its representation of African American administrators who want to push the University to greater heights. Kerrin Lyles who is currently the Acting Vice President of Student Affairs explains the importance of his role.

"My role here as a black Vice President of Student Affairs at Kean University is something I don’t take for granted. I recognize that there are students that are looking up to me and I recognize that I have to hold myself accountable. I make sure I’m setting the right examples, I’m walking with integrity, and that I have great character," said Lyles.

The world has dramatically changed throughout generations including how black history is acknowledged. Jocelyn Herelle who is a senior majoring in STEM Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, from Burlington, New Jersey, explains why it is important to evolve continuously.

"I think it’s important for Universities to actively recognize Black History Month because although we’ve come such a far way, we still have a far way to go and things change so often, so you just have to keep up with the times," said Herelle.

The next generation has unlimited access to information to learn about those who have paved the way for them to be successful. Arion Jamerson, the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Division of Student Affairs, Secondary Advisor for the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) Kean Collegiate Section, and Adjunct Professor, gives her take on the importance of educating students.

"The importance that I see is that I am in a field of graphic design, marketing, communications and you don’t see a lot of African Americans in that role. As this past year, I became an adjunct professor for the Michael Graves College, it’s important that students see themselves in the people that are shaping them. My role as a professor is really to show other students that they can do the things that they want to do and to give them the impact that they need by being that guidance,” said Jamerson.

Black History Month serves as an important reminder to the world of how African Americans have made profound contributions and sacrifices to make this country a better place for future generations. It’s a great time to thank the past and get excited for the future.