Dear Howard University

“Reared against the eastern sky, proudly stands on hilltop high.  Far above the lake so blue, stands old Howard, firm and true.” – The Alma Mater, J.H. Brooks

Dear Howard University,

Thank you for making me a part of something much more than myself.  The life that I lead now is a result of your teaching, your love, your influence and your people.  I have grown into a woman who wears her Howard pin as a badge of honor.  My head is held high because when asked what school I attended, your prestige is instantly recognized.  You have chosen a diverse and overwhelmingly talented group of people and provided a home where their talents are cultivated and aspirations are nurtured.  It’s no secret that the alumni of Howard have gone on to become top physicians, politicians, entrepreneurs, actors, musicians and activists among many other things, but I praise you for attracting my soul mates with whom I have grown up with.  As a freshman, I entered a new place by myself.  As a graduate, I moved forward with a family of not just my immediate friends, but a member of the Howard family.

My beloved HU, you have been an active participant in raising me.  For a young girl who was one of the few African Americans in most of her classes, attending an HBCU of like- minded students who were gifted and accomplished was a blessing.  You provide a haven for your students to express themselves and be embraced for their creativity.  From personal style to the astounding talents of fine arts, we all evolve into Howard Bison while uplifting our individuality.  You’ve raised me to become involved and take interest in my community.  I smile every time I see an image or read an article about how you are rearing new generations of passionate activists who eagerly celebrate the victories of humanity while refusing to be silent towards social injustices.  I recognize that a Howard Bison is synonymous with a responsibility to our community and each other that I graciously accept.  Bison from around the world have contributed to my success and I delight in paying it forward.

Howard University, thank you for being my second home.  The homecomings aren’t only legendary, but an actual venture to The Mecca to celebrate with my Howard family.  There is something special about an event that brings people from all over the world, alumni and non-alumni, who just want to be a part of the your reunion.  The love for each other is tangible.  Your campus walls expand throughout Washington D.C. and your spirit permeates us all as we tailgate, sing, dance and party.  Howard Homecoming is like none other.  We honor our successes.  We take pride in our history.  We boldly advance toward our future.

Howard, you aren’t just a school I once attended, but a part of my soul.  I know that some of my fondest and funniest memories have happened in your halls, The Burr and on the Yard.  Through the tears and the laughter, I wouldn’t change anything about my experience and I’m SO glad I went to Howard U!

In Truth and Service,

Jerri Hayes – Howard University c/o 2004

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