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VOA常速英语:尼日利亚学生毕业后成为大学校长

Source: 恒星英语学习网    2020-09-15   English BBS   Favorite  

I came from a country where I was part of the majority, where all of us…majority of us were black, and I came to a place where I became a minority literally overnight. I went to school at a small private Baptist university, Weyland Baptist University, in Plainview, Texas, received my undergraduate degree in business. Really got a chance to get into the community to connect with people, that was one of the things that dad really encouraged us to do. My parents Samuel and Confedy Akande had studied in the United States in the late 50s, and were enameled with American education. And interesting enough, their first couple of years in the States was in Texas. And if you, if you look at the time in the late 50s, these were, these were very difficult times for African-American. The civil rights era was in play. They had to deal with such things as sitting in the back of the, of the bus and eating the kitchen, but in spite of all that, I think my dad felt that American was in transition. That makes sure that we understood that America is what you make it, and that you have to be proactively engaged, you have to reach out to people. You have to get to know people, you’ve got to meet people halfway, and then as time went on I even picked up some other Texas slangs and and just,just try to gradually assimilate myself into the, into the community, without,without it, changing or affecting my values or trying to forget where I came from. It was a, it was a big tough salad of sorts that enabled me to be myself at the same time to be in the midst of something very different.

I remember in Texas then I noticed that people would wear these really tight jeans, wrangler jeans, and I would…I asked them: Well, that must feel really uncomfortable, guys, and they said, now, you know, Benjamin, you get used to it. You know, we’ve been wearing this all our lives. And I even got a chance to begin to like country and western music, and I had an appreciation for the storytelling aspect of it, how they told stories of loss, of gains, of surprises, of successes. And I found that very very interesting because as an African, I grew up in a storytelling environment, where my dad told remarkable stories to my sisters and I, and most of the stories were about America. And so we felt we had been there before, that we had seen it before. And so we were able to put it in our minds, eyes, and to visualize what it was all about. What makes this country truly great is the fact that it has embraced, enabled and recruited folks from all over the world. You know…and when you…when they talk about bringing your ideals and bringing your values and bringing your best and brightest, this is a country that has been a fertile ground for that. And the results are the transformational creativity and innovation that we’ve seen over many many years. If you look at that aspect and then you look at folks like myself, and presidents of so many institutions in the United States, that they came to this country as students. We just we didn’t take from America. America made us stronger, better, more contributory, and then we’re paying it forward and paying it forward is serving in the capacity, that I'm serving right now as President of Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.


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