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Dr. Marcia Young Cantarella:


M I S S I O N STAT E M E N T Kentucky State University, building on its legacy of achievement as a historically black, liberal arts and 1890 land grant University, affords access to and prepares a diverse student population of traditional and non-traditional students to compete in a multifaceted, ever-changing global society by providing student-centered learning while integrating teaching, research and service through high-quality undergraduate and select graduate programs. Kentucky State University is committed to keeping relevant its legacy of service by proactively engaging the community in partnerships on civic projects driven by the objective of positively impacting the quality of life of the citizens of the Commonwealth. EDITOR Rick Smith Sr. ASSOCIATE EDITORS Diane Hawkins Jesse Osbourne WRITERS Shantel Booth JC Campbell Mieisha Carter Jonathan Goatley Diane Hawkins Blair Hess Lyndsey McGaha PHOTOGRAPHERS Jonathan Goatley Keyshon Parris Marvin Young GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kimberly Alsabrook

Contents From the President: Dr. Aaron Thompson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 10 Things You Should Know About KSU. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-3 Dr. Christopher Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-5 School of Nursing Celebrates 50 Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7 Dr. Lee Charles Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Dr. Marcia Young Cantarella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 M.U.V.A.S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10-11 Alumni Spotlight: La’Shawna Waller. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Student Spotlight: Michael Weaver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Chapter Spotlight: KSU’s Chicago Alumni Chapter Turns 90 . . . . . 15 Homecoming: Save the Date. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 KSU’s New Pedway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Legislative Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Tune in to KSU Gold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 KSU Welcomes New Extension Administrators . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Picture Perfect at Posters-At-The-Capitol. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

Equal opportunity shall be provided to all persons throughout the University. Kentucky State University does not discriminate in the administration of or access to any educational services or in regard to any employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age (except for minors), national origin, ethnicity, citizenship status (except as required by law), disability, military service status, marital status or any other status protected by law, absent a bona fide occupational qualification. Non-discrimination requires compliance with federal, state and local employment laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, the following: Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Third Thursdays Turns 20 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Linkin’ Bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24-25 Life at KSU. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26-27 Letter from the Editor: Rick Smith Sr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

From The President

Aaron Thompson, Ph.D.

Greetings, Alumni: Every day we are racing toward Kentucky State University’s brightest future. Every day our faculty is working diligently to make sure our students are on the path of enlightenment and innovation which allows them to become more involved with creative excellence. The 16th-Annual Posters-At-The-Capitol, which was held on March 2 at the Capitol Rotunda, captured all of the key elements to ensure our students’ success. As Frankfort’s University, Posters-At-The-Capitol is the ideal historic location that allows our students to showcase their creativity for an audience that includes professors, other researchers and members of the General Assembly. We appreciate our elected officials’ support of our university’s students and their research. I have traveled across the globe and I am proud and honored to say that the talent and quality of our Kentucky State University students are unmatched. We are blessed to have such outstanding young men and women. For several years, I have done a lot of research on student success and how students get from Point A to Point B and what it takes to get there. As a result of my extensive study, I know that engagement is a primary element of student success. The No. 1 area of engagement is students with faculty. The more faculty engages with a student in areas like applied research or basic research, the greater the chances the student will be successful. Students who engage with each other in the process increase their likelihood of success. Students who get involved in an organizational activity also increase their likelihood of success. Mentoring increases the likelihood of success between 20 percent and 22 percent. Many of KSU’s students were among students from other Kentucky institutions, and they proudly displayed their posters that detailed their new discoveries. There were several impressive studies including, “Evaluation of Potential Pathogenic Bacteria in Spices in Local Stores in Kentucky,” “Early Nutritional Programming to Enhance the Utilization of Plant-Based Diets in Fish (Largemouth Bass),” “Variability of Hot Pepper Genotypes in Ascorbic Acid Content” and “Drug Resistant Enterobacteriaceae on Produce on Small Farms.” Our distinguished faculty and staff from the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Division of Aquaculture, and Division of Environmental Studies & Sustainable Systems assisted our students as researchers and mentors. As a researcher, I believe that we have to start the pipeline of helping our students to embrace the value of finding out new facts and being able to apply those invaluable skills in their future careers. Posters-At-The-Capitol is just one example of our faculty and students’ collaborative effort. I was profoundly grateful that KSU was among the universities across the Commonwealth that participated in this scholarly event. I congratulate the students and faculty whose important work shined brightly in the halls of the Capitol Building. Together as Thorobreds we will thrive and continue to “Race toward our brightest future.” Onward and Upward,

Aaron Thompson, Ph.D. Interim President

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


101 Things You Shou KSU announced Dr. M. Christopher Brown II as its 18th President

Dr. M. Christopher Brown has been elected to serve as Kentucky State University’s 18th President, announced Dr. Karen Bearden, Chair of the University’s Board of Regents. “I am profoundly honored to be named president of Kentucky State University, a revered and important higher education institution that has blazed trails in academia, equality, and higher learning since its founding in 1886,” said Dr. Brown. (see page 4)


KSU’s enrollment shows a significant increase

KSU spring semester enrollment has dramatically increased over the same period since last year, demonstrating further proof that the University is racing toward its brightest future. Undergraduate enrollment is now 2,096, which is up 34.3 percent from last spring, and the graduate enrollment count is 172; 17.8 percent higher than last spring.


KSU represented at HBCU Fly-In at the White House

Interim President Dr. Aaron Thompson was among more than 60 leaders of and advocates for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who met in late February at the White House.


Daughter of civil rights icon Dr. Marcia Young Cantarella encourages students to ‘lift every voice.’ The daughter of the renowned civil

rights activist, Whitney M. Young Jr., Dr. Marcia Young Cantarella gave a moving speech in February at Bradford Auditorium as part of the Living Legends Convocation Series at Kentucky State University. (see page 9)


KSU pays homage to master trailblazer Dr. Gus T. Ridgel

Dr. Gus T. Ridgel took center stage at the Living Legends Series Convocation in February in Bradford Auditorium. The elaborate program featured a video tribute, singers, praise dancers, a proclamation and a rare key to the city from KSU grad and Frankfort Mayor William May. Speakers included Board of Regents Chairwoman Dr. Karen Bearden, Rep. Derrick Graham, Interim Provost Dr. Candice Love Jackson and members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Dr. Ridgel was interviewed by Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Francene Gilmer.


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uld Know About KSU 6


KSU lost a legend Dr. Harold Benson, a giant in the history of Kentucky State University (KSU), passed away on November 30, 2016. His foresight and legacy led to the development of the College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems at Kentucky State University. His efforts led him to be the longest tenured Land Grant Director for 36 years, directing the Extension program from 1975 – 2011 and the research program from 1985 – 2011. His accomplishments at KSU could fill volumes.

Grammy Award-winning executive’s message is music to KSU students’ ears

Amir Windom immediately engaged students with his rise from working as a part-time janitor at Bad Boy Records to becoming a Grammy Awardwinning record executive in February at KSU’s Bradford Hall. Windom has been in the music industry for more than 13 years. He was the featured speaker during KSU’s Men’s Conference Week.


KSU senior to follow her heart as One Heart Source volunteer in South Africa Biology major Hailee Wilson has always dreamed of

traveling to other countries. However, the graduating senior read an email in October that combined both of her goals: education and travel. Wilson will head to Cape Town, South Africa, on June 14 to participate as a volunteer with One Heart Source. Alpha Upsilon Foundation and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Beta Zeta Alumnae have donated $1,000 toward Wilson’s trip to South Africa.


A stunning three-peat! Congrats to our volleyball team’s SIAC Championship

title The volleyball team became SIAC champions

once again in a 3-1 win over Claflin University (25-17, 25-15, 25-12, 25-14) following a loss to Claflin earlier in the day to force a one-match playoff for the title. The Thorobrettes’ victory notched their third SIAC championship in four years.


Football team finishes runner-up in SIAC championship game thriller

KSU was crowned the West Division SIAC Conference champions but fell short 33-30 in double overtime against Fort Valley State University in the SIAC Championship game. Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017



Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

KSU announces

DR. M. CHRISTOPHER BROWN as its new president Dr. M. Christopher Brown has been elected to serve as Kentucky State University’s 18th President, announced Dr. Karen Bearden, Chair of the University’s Board of Regents.

Dr. Brown has a Ph.D. in Higher Education from The Pennsylvania State University, a M.S. in Education from the University of Kentucky, and a B.S. in Elementary Education from South Carolina State University. Dr. Brown is currently the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Southern University and A&M System. Prior to accepting the KSU presidency, Dr. Brown served as President and Institutional Executive Officer at Alcorn State University. He has served in other executive and academic roles at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Alcorn State University, Fisk University, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and the United Negro College Fund. “The Board of Regents agreed that Dr. Brown has the experience, credentials, and vision to build upon our strong foundation and lead Kentucky State University and our students to even greater achievement and academic excellence,” said Karen Bearden, Chair of the KSU Board of Regents. “His selection comes at the conclusion of a spirited national search that included input from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community supporters. Dr. Brown is the right leader to bring all of these groups together and set KSU on a path toward continued greatness.” “Dr. Brown’s extensive work at those institutions, combined with his ideas for growing Kentucky State University’s academic capacity and student enrollment, make him an excellent choice to lead us into the future,” said Board of Regents Vice Chair Ekumene Lysonge.

Dr. Brown will replace Dr. Aaron Thompson, who has served as KSU’s interim president since May 2016. “I am profoundly honored to be named president of Kentucky State University, a revered and important higher education institution that has blazed trails in academia, equality, and higher learning since its founding in 1886,” said Dr. Brown. “KSU has a dedicated faculty, staff, and student body, and I know that we will forge deep, respectful relationships that will fuel great partnerships to benefit and promote this esteemed institution.”

“Dr. Brown is the right leader to bring all of these groups together and set KSU on a path toward continued greatness.” Kentucky State University will host meetings and receptions with faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, civic and business leaders, and lawmakers to introduce Dr. Brown to stakeholders within the KSU community. “This support and input is vital to KSU’s successful transition but it won’t be a one-time situation,” said Dr. Brown. “I believe an ongoing inclusive, collaborative approach fosters a healthy and robust atmosphere where the positive exchange of ideas reaps real results.”

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


Kentucky State University

School of Nursing



Anniversary 6

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

Kentucky State University’s School of Nursing is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The first class of 10 students to be admitted into the School of Nursing at Kentucky State University (KSU) was in the fall of 1967. Now, more than 1,400 nurses have graduated from the program. KSU was among the first universities to admit and graduate African-American nurses in Kentucky; prior to this, many African Americans had to go out of state to obtain a nursing degree. “KSU played a huge role in the civil rights movement,” said Dr. Alicia Williams, chair of the School of Nursing. “The University’s nursing department was able to find the viable faculty that were needed in order to train and teach people of color. We’re very proud that the nurses who have come through this department have all been offered a quality education and quality training.”

We’re very proud that the nurses who have come through this department have all been offered a quality education and quality training.”

KSU offers two nationally accredited nursing programs; an associate degree in nursing and a bachelor’s of science in nursing. KSU is now also offering its first Doctor of Nursing Practice program (DNP), which offers “rigorous curriculum, state-of-the-art simulation and immersion in clinical rotations to prepare future nurse practitioners.” The new DNP program is far reaching, since it is offered

online and trains nurses across the nation. In December, the University will graduate its first DNP class. KSU’s DNP program specializes in Adult Gerontology Primary Care. With its focus on gerontology, KSU’s program addresses a critical need in an increasingly aging population. Gerontology nurse practitioners are in great demand because of the growing need for highly skilled clinicians at the bedside. “The University’s ability to offer students a quality education is attributed to the department’s strong quality program which prepares students to be critical thinkers, creative learners, and change agents in the health care arena,” says Williams. “The small class size offers each student a hands-on, individualized learning experience.” The University’s Nursing School partners with several clinical sites across Kentucky to offer labs to students like Frankfort Regional, Veterans Administration hospital in Lexington, Eastern State Hospital, Baptist Health in Lexington and Louisville, and Bradford Square Nursing Home. The doctoral candidates are offered advanced practice and are required to submit proposals that will strengthen healthcare models and policies around the world, Williams said.

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


School of Nursing visionary


is proud of the program’s strong foundation Kentucky State University’s (KSU) School of Nursing is celebrating its 50th golden anniversary this year, highlighting the expansion of the program and the advancement of the curriculum. Many are unaware of how the program originated or the visionary behind the program’s development: Dr. Lee Charles Harris. Dr. Harris is an upbeat, barrierbreaking trailblazer. Among her countless accolades, she’s also a Kentucky State alumna. Many say she’s KSU’s own hidden figure. She paved the way for African-Americans to become nurses in the state of Kentucky. Under her leadership, Kentucky State College trained and graduated the first nursing school class of 1967. As of today, the School of Nursing has graduated nearly 1,400 nursing students. Dr. Harris graduated in 1954 from Kentucky State College and had the desire to attend nursing school, but she was unable to in Kentucky. Instead, she enrolled in Howard University’s Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing. Dr. Harris graduated in 1957 and became a registered nurse. After graduating from Howard, Dr. Harris returned to Kentucky and obtained her first master’s degree at the University of Kentucky (UK) where she became a health educator for the Kentucky State Department of Health. “In 1965, when I was asked by President Dr. Carl M. Hill to come to Kentucky State College to continue the development of and graduate the first students in the college’s nursing program, I accepted the opportunity,” she said. “There wasn’t a nursing program that accepted African Americans when I graduated college in 1954 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky at that time, but I wanted to make sure that the students in Kentucky were given an opportunity to succeed.” Dr. Harris received sabbatical leave from the Kentucky State Department of Health and attended John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her second master’s degree, and in 1986, her doctorate degree in Education Psychology from the University of Kentucky. Upon coming to Kentucky State College, Dr. Harris was faced with several challenges. At that time, the program needed to be further developed, and the students needed a comprehensive program in order to graduate. The faculty needed to be master’s prepared, and many of


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the surrounding universities were able to offer more competitive salaries. “The students in the nursing program also needed clinical experience,” said Dr. Harris. “Most of the local clinical agencies already had students and were not able to offer our students clinical experience. We were then challenged to find vacancies in surrounding cities like Louisville and Lexington and to provide our students with the necessary transportation to get them there.” Despite the challenges, it all came together. Dr. Harris found qualified faculty and staff, and many of the students were able to complete their clinical work in places such as Central State Hospital in Louisville and the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Lexington. Dr. Harris also developed the Continuing Education for Nurses Program that allowed nurses to earn credits to renew their licensure each year. Today, the School of Nursing is still growing. In December 2017, the nursing department will graduate its first class of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students. The new DNP program is an online adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner program. “The area of gerontology is so critical now,” said Dr. Harris. “We have one of the first gerontology focused programs in the Commonwealth that offers professional nursing services for the aging population. It’s critical that the next leader of the institution is able to follow and keep up with the strategies that are in place to move KSU forward in the 21st century.” Dr. Harris beams with pride when she reflects on the strides the nursing department has made over the years. “The nursing school has gone so far beyond my vision, and I’m happy to see the work alive and continuing,” she said. “The program has a great foundation, but I’m thrilled to see Kentucky State University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice ready and on the launch pad poised to blast off into the future.”

Daughter of civil rights icon

DR. MARCIA YOUNG CANTARELLA encourages students to ‘lift every voice’

The daughter of the renowned civil rights activist, Whitney M. Young Jr., Dr. Marcia Young Cantarella gave a moving speech in February at Bradford Auditorium as part of the Living Legends Convocation Series at Kentucky State University (KSU). Young graduated from Kentucky State College in 1941. During his college years, he met Margaret Buckner, who was later to become his wife. As Dr. Cantarella’s father was making a name for himself fighting employment discrimination and transforming the National Urban League into an energetic social-civil rights organization, Dr. Cantarella grew up as a normal child should. “It’s like being anyone’s daughter. My dad was my dad,” she said. It wasn’t until her teenage years that she realized and began to understand and appreciate the work her father was doing for African-Americans. Because of her family background and her efforts to uphold their legacy of being engaged, she was exposed to greater opportunities such as meeting President Lyndon Baines Johnson and working as an intern for Bobby Kennedy. Visiting KSU’s campus brought back memories for Dr. Cantarella. She loves to meet with students, and the campus makes her think back to when her parents attended the Frankfort, Kentucky, institution. Although the campus has newer buildings, Dr. Cantarella still remembers what the University was like years ago.

Dr. Cantarella has been working on the interactive Student Handbook and Facilitators Guide for the PBS documentary, “All the Difference.” The film tells the story of two young men from Chicago as they leave high school and transition to college. It follows them on their path through college and shows all the challenges they experience. The guide allows students, and those who work with them, to learn from the young men’s tough experiences featured in the film.

At convocation, Dr. Cantarella gave a speech based on the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” She encouraged to students to speak up and be engaged in their classes. Cantarella believes that college is a “dress rehearsal for life.” “There’s a lot going on in the world that needs the voices and creativity of the younger generation,” she said. During her years at Bryn Mawr College, she participated in marches and exercised her voice. In 1964, she along with other classmates launched a women’s movement on her campus. By the time she graduated, her campus had a completely different environment for women, and stereotypes for women were broken. She believes it’s time for younger people to step up and use their voices the way her generation did when they were young. Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


M.U.V.A.S. helping KSU students balance motherhood and academics

Kentucky State University senior Destini Raye Baker started at the University as a trombone player with the Mighty Marching Thorobreds. However, in her sophomore year, the English major became pregnant and struggled for a semester trying to maintain being a mother and a student. “The hardest part of being a student mother is the spontaneity of my schedule,” Baker said. “Every day is something new -- like illnesses -- and you have to change your schedule to take care of and nurse your child back to health.” The Louisville, Kentucky, native noticed there were no resources available to help student mothers who were trying


Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

to balance being a mother and a student. She decided to organize M.U.V.A.S. (Mothers Understanding the Value of Academics and Striving for Success). Although Baker is married, she still struggles with maintaining being a mother and student due to her hectic schedule and unexpected situations. Baker reached out to other student mothers who have the same time constraints and formed this network.

Baker founded the group on March 28, 2016. The M.U.V.A.S work together by listening to one another’s troubles, lending advice, helping with babysitting and extending any other helping hand the student mothers may need. They also plan events to ease the stress that comes with motherhood. “We have ladies night on the fourth of each month where we get a chance to go out and wind down,” she said. “We also held an Easter extravaganza.” The M.U.V.A.S isn’t just a group, it is a sisterhood. There are currently 10 members and the group is open to welcoming new members. Their mission is to provide the necessary resources, information and sincere support for students who are mothers. The goal of this organization is to empower them to succeed as a mother and as a student. “You do not have to be a mother to become a member of M.U.V.A.S,” Baker said. “You just need to have the passion to want to help and support the mothers. We help each other by being there for one another.” KSU graduate and Louisville native Shanice Best eagerly joined M.U.V.A.S after she talked with Baker. Best, who has a 2-year-old son, said the group helped her while she was a student mother.

“We help each other by being there for one another.”

“It felt good to be around people in a similar situation as me, who understood, and with the support of the organization, helped me get through my classes,” she said. “I think it will be a popular organization for student mothers, as well as a good outreach for those who aren’t. I see the M.U.V.A.S organization expanding to different schools and I just see M.U.V.A.S doing big things.” The group meets once a month or sometimes more, if needed. They meet for study sessions and hold classes on parenting. They also host family nights and have inspirational guest speakers. The M.U.V.A.S also meet to give back to the Kentucky community as they offer mentoring to young mothers and help with applying to college. Recently, the group met at Shawnee High School in Louisville to mentor high school mothers. The KSU student mothers also pitch in to give back to various shelters

Destini Raye Baker, M.U.V.A.S. President

in the community. M.U.V.A.S post their upcoming meetings on their Facebook and Instagram pages. The group is currently working with Dean of Residence Life, Monesca Smith, to get temporary housing for families until the organization can afford to fund their own family housing. “We have discussed alternatives and ways the University will be able to be more supportive of our students,” said Smith. The M.U.V.A.S hope to expand their membership over the next few years. The members vote every spring semester on who will serve as officers in the organization. The current officers consist of Vice President Ashlei Carter, Secretary Nichol Sistrunk, Treasurer Dorian Wright and Community Outreach Mariah Bailey. Each officer can be reached by campus email,

You can keep up with the M.U.V.A.S latest events by following their social media pages on Instagram @M.U.V.A.S Facebook @MuvasKysu

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017




From deployment to degree: La’Shawna Waller

tapped into her KSU classes from Kuwait O&U: Did you have a thesis project? If so, please briefly describe your project? I actually had to do a practicum, because my undergraduate degree was not in education. I completed the practicum at Taylor Mill Middle School in Independence, Kentucky. O&U: What was it like to take classes online while being so far away? The time difference was a challenge, but starting the program while deployed helped me focus on something else rather than my deployment. It was a type of mental escape for me. I was able to initiate the degree, but could only take classes that did not require me to do student observation until I returned to the States. I didn’t have the ability to work around students during my deployment.

While KSU alumna La’Shawna Waller was taking online classes at Kentucky State University, she was working eight hours ahead of her classmates. Waller, who is in the National Guard, was completing her coursework while she was deployed to Kuwait, which has an eight-hour time difference from Eastern Standard Time. Waller was deployed in October 2006 for one year. She started KSU’s program in July 2007. O&U: Where are you from originally? This is a complex response. I am an Army brat, meaning one of my parents was in the Army and I moved a lot. I was born in Huntsville, Alabama, but I went to high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. My parents are from Cincinnati, so I call that home. O&U: Which university did you complete your undergraduate work? What was your major? Kentucky State University with a BS in Biology. O&U: When did you complete your graduate work from KSU? In 2010, I graduated with a master’s in Special Education with certification in Learning Behavior Disorders P-12.


Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

O&U: What inspired you to pursue your degree with KSU? I started a secondary education program at Xavier University, but then I got the news I was deployed and had to withdraw. I later found out through alumni emails that KSU was starting an online special education program and I contacted the school that day and initiated the steps to be enrolled. O&U: What inspired you to join the National Guard? Having been an Army brat, my mom said I wanted to be in the Army since I was a toddler. I guess I wanted to kind of follow my father’s footsteps, who was in the active Army. The National Guard gave me the opportunity to wear the uniform and serve the community at the same time. O&U: What are your career goals? Well, I’ve been in the military for almost 12 years and I plan to retire shortly after I reach my 20. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do after retirement. I have a little time to figure it out. O&U: What are you currently working on? Right now I’m focused on my professional military education. I feel like I’m always in school. I’ve been stationed in the National Capital Region since 2012 and currently serve as an Assistant Executive Officer to a General Officer at the National Guard Bureau. O&U: What advice would you give to students who are working on their degrees far away from their home? I’d say that it is doable. Keep pushing and remember why you’re doing it.



KSU sophomore class president MICHAEL WEAVER hopes to ‘change the world’ The St. Louis Arch, the Cardinals, W.C. Handy, B.B. King, and Nelly are among some of the notable names that have made St. Louis, Missouri, famous. The KSU Student Alumni Association and sophomore class president Michael Weaver is a proud native of the same city. Weaver is a singer with the KSU Concert Choir and many other musical ensembles. He is a consummate musician and plays all the percussion instruments and piano. Some would consider the student a triple threat: singer, actor, and dancer. Added to these gifts, Weaver is an athlete. His athletic acumen includes playing basketball and tennis. The KSU student leader is also a huge advocate for positive change. Instead of just talking the talk, he also walks the walk. Weaver has created a “Change the World” scholarship. Students must have a 2.5 grade point average. Students must write a 250-word essay about how they will use their major to impact their community or the world. His scholarship committee interviews selected students. Weaver tries to live by the lyrics of fellow Midwestern native and rapper Big Sean’s “One Man Can Change the World.” Each day, Weaver strives to accomplish his goals one step at a time. He is also passionate about Kentucky State University. He hopes to ensure that his legacy will be remembered in KSU’s illustrious history.

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


KENTUCKY STATE UNIVERSITY National Alumni Association

Celebrating 27 years of the PAS Fund’s inception, we are requesting your financial support during our celebration year and each year thereafter. The PAS Fund is an endowment, which means the principal amount remains in the fund and scholarships are given from the earnings of the fund. With the generous support of alumni and matching funds from the state, the fund balance is nearly $400,000 as of December 31, 2016. The Permanent Alumni Scholarship (PAS) Fund is the official scholarship fund of the Kentucky State University National Alumni Association. The PAS Fund was started by the Class of 1965 during its 25th Class In Reunion celebration in 1990. The PAS Fund is in position to offer eight $1,000 scholarships for Fall 2017. PAS FUND ANNUAL GIVING LEVELS Founder - $1,000 or more in a year Patron - $500 to $999 in a year Ambassador - $250 to $499 in a year Pioneer - $100 to $249 in a year Donor - $25 to $99 in a year

PAS FUND LIFETIME GIVING LEVELS 1890 Society - $20,000 and above 1930 Society - $10,000 and above 1990 Society - $5,000 - $9,999 and above

Contributions can be made via mail or online. KSU Foundation P.O. Box 4210 Frankfort, KY 40604-4210

Please write “PAS Fund” in the comments section: 14

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


When you think of Chicago, you may think of many things: the Cubs, the White Sox, the Bulls, the restaurants, even President Barack Obama. What most people would miss is the legacy and excellence of Kentucky State University (KSU) in the “Windy City.” This excellence comes through in the work and dedication of the Chicago alumni chapter. This past month, the Chicago chapter celebrated their 90th Founders’ Day Luncheon Celebration. Twentytwo dedicated graduates set the groundwork for helping deserving students obtain their degree by offering scholarships, moral support and encouragement to stay the course and graduate. These devoted individuals spent countless hours strategizing about how they could best serve Kentucky State and its students.



has remained the largest financial chapter in the last three years. It has distributed $5,000 in student awards annually and provides students from Chicago with Wal-Mart gift cards during Homecoming. The Chicago alumni chapter sets a major example for how to engage with KSU and the student body. They continue to exceed all expectations and thrive to be the best. Chicago alumni is truly a chapter moving onward and upward!

“At the end of the day, it is about the uplift of those students that are on the hill.” The current members of Chicago alumni believe that every day, they should dedicate themselves to the commitment that the founding members had. Guests at the celebration included KSUNAA President, Venita Hawkins, the Acting Provost, Dr. Candice Love Jackson, and Interim Vice President of External Relations and Development Rick Smith. Patrick Claiborne, president of the Chicago chapter, said, “We are here to serve. We are proud to be the largest chapter of the national association, and we believe, the strongest. At the end of the day, it is about the uplift of those students that are on the hill.” While Claiborne may be a little biased, the numbers can’t be argued. In the past three years, Chicago has set major goals. The chapter has maintained a membership of 100 or above. It Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


Save the Date


Come out to support the


as they will face the Tuskegee Golden Tigers 16

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

KSU’s new pedway strides toward completion By August, the wood-and-cement skeleton next to Hathaway Hall should be a complete and functional pedestrian walkway, or pedway for short, bridging the north and south campuses. Its purpose is to provide easier access to Hathaway Hall and the Carl M. Hall Student Center. The project started construction in March 2016 and is being headed and funded by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The plan for the pedway was developed in 2008 to create a safer environment for KSU students. The total cost of the project is $5.1 million. Originally, the project was expected to be completed in January, but conflicts dealing with utilities caused delays. When complete, the pedway will be attached to a tower on the south campus. Inside the tower will be an elevator and a stairwell. A bus pull-off area will also be constructed near the tower. This will replace the tunnel that currently serves as the connection to the two campuses. Student reception to the construction is generally positive. KSU senior Kelvin Brooks thinks the pedway will help accessibility to physically disabled students. “Everywhere else on campus there are accessibility entrances. There aren’t

on that side of campus,” Brooks said. “So, this will give that accessibility that is needed.” On the other hand, some students who live in Young Hall dislike the changes it has made to their normal walk to the other side of campus. “It’s inconvenient,” said Marcus Hodge, a freshman computer science major. “It’s cool that they’re getting a pedway, but I live in Young and now we have to walk all the way around Hathaway just to go the café.” Noise has also affected students who have classes around the construction. Freshman Grace Bios says the noise disrupts the university orientation classes held in Young Hall. “It’s kind of disturbing when classes are going on and you can hear the noise, but it’s going to be neat to see what comes out of it.”

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


KSU visits the State Capitol on Legislative Day Kentucky State University students, alumni, administrators, faculty, and staff toured the Capitol on Wednesday, February 8 as part of Legislative Day. Students learned about the state legislative process, discussed Kentucky history and visited various offices at the Capitol, including Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s. The group finished the day by sitting in on the opening legislative sessions. “I enjoyed seeing the different rooms and learning about different artifacts at the Capitol building,” Damian Logan, a senior at Kentucky State University, said. Legislative Day is an opportunity for KSU students to learn how state government works and how to make their voices heard.


Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

On Monday, April 3, Kentucky State University rolled out its new television program, KSU Gold, on the Cable 10 Television Network. The show, which is produced by Kentucky State’s College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems (CAFSSS), will give the viewing audience a peek of the University’s faculty, staff, and students and their research, work and efforts to continue KSU’s legacy of achievement. “We’re excited to be able to share some of the great research and community work that the staff of the College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems is doing across the state. Through this showcase of our talented faculty, staff, and students, we hope the Frankfort community will be encouraged to learn more about the great work happening at Kentucky State University,” said Blair Thomas Hess, KSU’s CAFSSS Media and Communications Manager. The new television show will be produced in CAFSSS’ television studio, which recently underwent a state-of-theart high-definition equipment upgrade. Viewers can tune in to watch the 30-minute program every Monday at 8 p.m.

“We hope the Frankfort community will be encouraged to learn more about the great work happening at Kentucky State University,” “The viewing audience can expect to see a broad variety of content; anything from cooking, exercising, to feeding goats on the University’s Dr. Harold Benson Demonstration and Research Farm,” said Lyndsey McGaha, host of the television program. The new show is a byproduct of the “What Can You Do for KSU” campaign sponsored by the Frankfort Kiwanis Club.

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017




Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


KSU welcomes new Extension Administrators

DR. JOHNNIE WESTBROOK AND DR. COURTNEY OWENS Kentucky State University (KSU) welcomes Dr. Johnnie Westbrook, Associate Extension Administrator, and Dr. Courtney Owens, Interim Assistant Extension Administrator and State Specialist in Program and Staff Development, to the KSU family. Dr. Westbrook will direct Kentucky State University’s Cooperative Extension Program, which is committed to solving problems faced by those who have limited social and economic resources and to improving the quality of life and vitality of communities and individuals throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This is accomplished through outreach and informal education to our communities and underserved audiences, and through promoting sustainable economies, environments, communities, and families. KSU’s Cooperative Extension Program is part of a nationwide network of local and regional offices staffed by experts who provide useful, practical, and researchbased information to agriculture producers, small business owners, youth, and consumers in the community. Westbrook will lead KSU’s team of state specialists and county extension agents in partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension System to reach farmers and producers across the state. Owens will assist in assessing how KSU is reaching the community and the impacts it has across the Commonwealth. “George Washington Carver once said, ‘Where there is no vision, there is no hope.’ My vision for the University is to see Kentucky State University become the premier provider of educational programs,” Westbrook said. “My goal is to further Kentucky State’s strong relationship with limited resource farmers, communities, families and with the youth. My first goal is to conduct an internal review of our state and county programs, and to develop a strategic plan based on our strengths.” Westbrook has over 20 years of experience in secondary agricultural education and Cooperative Extension. He received his Bachelor of Science in agricultural education

from North Carolina State University; Master of Science in agricultural education from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University; and a Doctor of Philosophy in career and technical education (emphasis in Extension education) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “I believe in setting a standard of principles; these are principles that will help move Kentucky State forward. I call them my six guiding principles – people, priorities, programs, professional development, performance, and pride. These are necessary to take Kentucky State to the top, and they will be essential in the development of my strategic plan to help the University meet its goals and vision,” Westbrook said. Owens, who has an exceptional amount of experience in working with extension programs, will assist Westbrook in furthering Kentucky State’s goal. “I was drawn to Kentucky State University because I truly believe in the mission and the vision of the University. I’m honored to be a part of the Kentucky State family and for the opportunity to help the University meet the institution’s goals. It’s my mission to share my knowledge of education and my experience in extension to help accelerate Kentucky State University into being the premier land-grant institution,” Owens said. Owens received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Master of Science and professional service in agricultural education from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He later received his Ph.D. in agricultural education and communication at the University of Florida in December 2016. Owens is a United States Peace Corps Returned Volunteer where he served in the small enterprise development sector as an agribusiness advisor in West Africa, Burkina Faso. During this two-year period, his primary project was to work with local cotton farmers to improve sustainable agricultural practices and generate income through agribusiness ventures. Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


Picture Perfect at

POSTERS-AT-THE-CAPITOL KSU students proudly display their innovative research and creative discoveries at the 16th Annual Posters-At-The-Capitol in Frankfort. The event unites Kentucky institutions, faculty, legislators and the City of Frankfort. Interim President Dr. Aaron Thompson was a guest speaker.


Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

Celebrating 20 Years of THIRD THURSDAYS Sustainable workshop series brings together farmers, researchers, agencies to learn and share ideas equally The Third Thursday Thing Sustainable Agriculture Workshop series is a monthly event that aims to educate Kentucky’s farming community on best practices, grant opportunities, new technologies, and more. The program celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017 and has become a statewide community of small farmers, researchers, Cooperative Extension staff, and U.S. Department of Agriculture and state agencies who speak and share ideas freely and equally.

says Dr. Marion Simon, state extension specialist. Dr. Simon founded the Third Thursday Thing in 1997. The workshop aims to strengthen and build support groups for small and minority farmers as they work, learn, and share together. At the Third Thursday Thing, small farmers are introduced to a wide range of alternative farm enterprises and sustainable production and marketing systems so that they can make informed decisions and help mentor other farmers. Agricultural professionals, paraprofessionals, and non-profits gain a better understanding of sustainable agriculture production and marketing systems, including the special needs of small farms. Over the past two to four years, 70-90 percent of Third Thursday Thing participants have adopted a practice or new enterprise they have learned at a workshop and use it on their operations or in their programming.

The goal of the Third Thursday Thing is to improve the sustainability of agriculture on Kentucky’s small, limitedresource, female-operated, and minority farms.

The Third Thursday Thing is held at the Kentucky State University Harold R. Benson Research and Demonstration Farm, 1525 Mills Lane, Frankfort, KY on the third Thursday of each month (except December) at 10 a.m.

“From the kitchen table to field meetings, everyone views the Third Thursday Thing as a relaxed, shared learning experience where all participants benefit from each other,”

More information and program agendas are available at:”

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017




Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

Brings warm melodies & heartfelt lessons to KSU

“America’s Got Talent” finalists Linkin’ Bridge, performed not once, but twice on February 21 in Bradford Auditorium at Kentucky State University (KSU). Montre Davis, Big Rome Kimbrough, Shon China Lacy, and Ekoe Alexanda, who all originate from Louisville, Kentucky, immediately brought good vibes to campus with their words of wisdom, infectious humor, and A cappella harmonies. They ensured that the audience left inspired whether it was to “always follow your dreams” or “never judge a book by its cover.”

music, giving them an opportunity to look deeper into the hard work behind the music industry. The forum was led by led by Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Caroline Gibson. Members of Linkin’ Bridge emphasized to students that “staying humble is one of the most important things.”

The first performance was at a 10 a.m. convocation where Interim President Dr. Aaron Thompson welcomed Frankfort High School, Franklin County High School, Western Hills High School, and GEAR UP Kentucky. Linkin’ Bridge opened their interactive performance with a cover of “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, and they invited high school students to join them. The concert flowed with inspirational music and their stories of humble beginnings.

“I saw that that show gave people a chance to fulfill their dreams, so even if you didn’t win you could really accomplish something,” said Montre Davis.

After the morning concert, the group also participated in an open forum with KSU students who are interested in

In an interview conducted after their first performance, Linkin’ Bridge talked about their motivation to sing, and what inspired them to try out for “America’s Got Talent.”

Fans can expect to hear Linkin’ Bridge’s new album, which will be released sometime this summer. Later in the evening, there was a two-hour concert at 7 p.m., open to the Frankfort and campus community with performances by the KSU Concert Choir and the Franklin County Step Team. KSU held a reception after the concert for fans to meet and greet the singing sensations and receive signed autographed posters.

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


Life at 26

Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

KSU Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017


From The Editor Greetings Thorobred Alumni! Building relationships has always been important to me. Our External Relations and Development team works diligently to visit alumni chapters, respond to our proud Kentucky State University alumni, collaborate with community members, government officials, faculty, staff, and students, and work proactively with the media. It is these types of bonds and relationship building that will help Kentucky State University (KSU) thrive for another 130 years. As a former television reporter, producer and a longtime national crisis communications instructor, one of my department goals is for our team to research and share positive stories that truly reflect the strong academic atmosphere of our University. This magazine is an example of great storytelling and reporting. I hope that we are building engagement with you through this publication. In this letter and future letters from me, I will introduce you to members of our team. One of our recent additions is Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy, Louis DeFreeze. Louis is a leading expert in the field of marketing, social media and the digital space. We are thrilled to have him be a part of our team as we prepare for many exciting changes, including a new website, coming in the fall of 2017. Media Manager Lyndsey McGaha joined our team in September. She worked diligently to create and will produce a television program which highlights KSU and the outstanding work of the College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems. The show, called KSU Gold, will air on Cable 10 Television, a public access television station in Frankfort beginning on April 3. It will also be available for viewers on our website. Recently, I traveled to Chicago to attend the Chicago Alumni Chapter’s 90th-anniversary luncheon in Orland Park, Illinois along with our Provost, Dr. Candice Love Jackson, and our National Alumni Association President, Ms. Venita Hawkins. It was a pleasure to talk with Chicago’s Kentucky State Alumni President Patrick Claiborne, Vice President Carolyn L. Washington, and other officers and members. I first met Mr. Claiborne last year during KSUNAA’s Summer Weekend in Detroit. We certainly had a wonderful visit, and I thank the Chicago chapter for their hospitality. I also frequently visit with Louisville, Indianapolis, Frankfort and Danville alumni officers. Even though my car is racking up mileage and I am accumulating more frequent flyer miles, I am thrilled to meet and greet our alumni. It is these kinds of partnerships that help our team – and me -- learn and grow. You never know, I might just pop up at your alumni meeting soon! If you have an event or a monthly meeting you would like for me to attend, please email me or call the office of External Relations and Development. I would love to be there if possible. Onward and Upward, Rick Smith Sr.

Interim Vice President for External Relations & Development (502) 597-6760


Onward & Upward | SPRING 2017

Send Us Your Information Kentucky State University features a Chapter of the Quarter and a KSU Alumni Member of the Quarter in each issue of Onward & Upward. If you would like to suggest an Alumni Chapter of the Quarter, please recommend chapters that meet the following criteria: 1. Chapters showing growth

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2. Unique projects 3. Fundraising activities 4. Galas/Events held 5. Mentoring programs (youth engagement) 6. Recruitment events 7. Students from your area who are attending KSU 8. Community engagement If you would like to suggest an Alumni Member of the Quarter, please recommend individuals who meet the following criteria:

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Onward & Upward Spring 2017  
Onward & Upward Spring 2017