Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

THE LAST WORD: Reflections after 15 Years

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

THE LAST WORD: Reflections after 15 Years

Article excerpt

THE LAST WORD: Reflections After 15 years

Sometimes you've got to go on blind faith, fortitude, hard work, and confidence. And even then, the odds of success are minimal. Fifteen years ago, when we started Black Issues In Higher Education, we had no idea that, even with the above mentioned ingredients, we'd become what we are today. For that we offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to you -- our advertisers, subscribers, and readers.

We've confessed to many of you, over the past 15 years, that we're just two small-town guys from Alabama and South Carolina. Because of our backgrounds, and that of pretty much everyone else whom we knew back when we started, we had to make use of the resources that we had at our disposal. The banks certainly wouldn't loan us any money to start a business -- to buy a new car, yes, but to start a newsletter that would address minority education..."Are you guys crazy?," they said. So it was with small personal loans, we took the leap.

We remember very vividly that, in 1984, the Reagan Administration was very much opposed to diversity and affirmative action initiatives. So our mission was akin to setting sail in the middle of a violent coastal storm. But set sail we did and continue to do so with the help of our exceptional staff.

Based on our years of experience in higher education, the one thing we were certain of was that there were some very good-hearted, caring, and committed people in our higher education communities. People -- like Dr. Ike Tribble of the McKnight Foundation, who purchased the first full-page advertisement; Paul Shelton, who is now the dean of municipal and health services at Clemson University, who was our first paid subscriber; and Robbie Cagnina, from William-Paterson College, who bought the first two-page spread; Gary Hunter who took out the first group subscription package for all the senior administrators at Miami-Dade Community College. Each of these was among the very gutsy people who helped us to get where we are today.

Dr. Stanley Ikenberry, currently the president of the American Council on Education, but then president of the University of Illinois, said some courageous words in support of diversity in one of our early editorials that emboldened others who were a little too cautious to be seen in Black Issues In Higher Education. …

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