The Compass Friday, March 8, 1996 9
Byrant praises African-American women
during Black History Month assembly
When you have
a vision, you're
— Wanda Bryant
by NaKeisha S. Sylver
What do Maya Angelou, Harriet
Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Mary
McCloud Bethune have in common?
These dynamic African-American
women have left an invaluable legacy
to all modern women, according to
Wanda Bryant, N.C.'s Senior Deputy
It is a legacy women today are still
Bryant, guest speaker at ECSU's an
nual Black History Month Assembly,
held Feb. 20 in Moore Hall, began her
address by reading lines from Maya
Angelou's poem, "Phenomenal Woman:"
Pretty women wonder where my secret
lies... I'm a woman, phenomenally. Phe
nomenal woman, that's me.
"I picked Maya Angelou's poem to
read to you today because I think most
of us are phenomenal women," Bryant
said, adding that what made these
women phenomenal was their vision.
"We must all have a vision," said
Bryant. "When you have a vision,
you're positive, not negative. You're
pro-active instead of waiting for things
to happen. You're thrifty and you don't
just spend on a whim; and you are
filled with self-confidence, not self-
Bryant pointed out to the audience
the little known fact that at least 23
African-American women inventors
have been recorded since 1885.
"These women invented such things
as the ironing board, home security sys
tems, and sanitary napkins, and they
have to have had a vision to do so,"
While she applauded the concept of
collaborative vision, Bryant empha
sized that a vision does not have to be
shared by all women for it to have cred
"Many women's groups have shared
vision," said Bryant, "but it's also im
portant to have your own."
During her discussion of visions and
great female visionaries, Bryant
couldn't resist praising a male vision
ary whose work has benefited all.
"Martin Luther King Jr. would be 67
years old today had he lived," she said.
"That's younger than either my father
or my mother. It is still amazing to me
that he was only 39 years old when he
died, because of the legacy that he left.
Today, his vision is carried on by his
wife, Corretta Scott King."
Bryant also addressed the negative
ways in which both black women and
men are perceived.
"Someone once said that it is double
jeopardy to be black and a woman,"
she said. "They say that means that
you are a slave to a slave."
Bryant disagreed with the statement
which she called "an assault on black
men." She acknowledged that even the
most phenomenal black woman could
not exist without the black man.
"They are our husbands, lovers, sons,
and friends," she said. "Our Uves are
inextricably intertwined, and together
we must carry out the vision."
Bryant said that one needn't look far
to find an African-American heroine
or hero with a vision.
by Latisha Edwards
ECSU officials are working hard to
reverse the 15 percent annual decline
in enrollment over the past three years.
"We have received about 30 percent
more applications than last year this
time," said Anthony Price, admissions
After a three year decline in enroll
ment ECSU could lose as much as
$850,000 in budget cuts. By fall '95, the
University's 1850 eiirollment was 200
short of its budgeted level of 2050.
These potential cuts, described as
"devastating" by Interim Chancellor
Bumim, could lead to a lack of sup
plies and equipment, while limiting
new faculty positions.
In fall '95 Leon Rouson, special as
sistant to the chancellor for Uruversity
admissions and recruitment told The
Compass that facing the enrollment chal
lenge would be "do or die." This year,
the University has already surpassed
last year's enrollment by 19 students.
Rouson is certain that a spring rush
of students will boost the incoming
class of freshmen to a "record break
ing" 800. Three hundred of these new
students will be financed by the $1 mil
lion dollar state grant to ECSU for the
96-97 academic year through the In
centive Scholarship program.
"My mother is my role model and
my heroine," said the native of south
eastern, NC. "She never finished high
school, and she never went to college.
She was never the first black woman to
do anything, but she did have a vision."
Bryant, who earned a BA. in history
from Duke Uruversity, and her law de
gree from North Carolina Central
School of Law, said that her mother's
vision included providing a better life
for her children than the one she had
Although the University has not been
able to use all of its Incentive Scholar
ship money in the past, Rouson plans to
use all of the money appropriated. Cur
rently, the University has admitted 91
incentive scholars for the class of '99.
No students, however, have been re
cruited through other academic schol
arship programs due to the $1 million
debt that has accrued from the
University's practice of awarding past
scholarships without having the funds
to back them up.
"We don't want to spend money we
don't have," said Rouson. "Right now
we can't guarantee anyone money out
side the 21 counties."
However, Rouson says the Office of
Development and Plarming will begin
recruiting as soon as funds are avail
able through donations. "If they call
me and say we have $100,000 that's
five scholarships, Rouson added," ex
plaining that each scholarship has to
be multiplied by the cost of education
for four years.
Despite the unavailability of funds,
the recruiting team is excited about the
Incentive Scholarship program's
Five counties have been added to
the Incentive Scholarship program. The
21-county extension also gives the Uni-
"I believe she realized her vision,"
Bryant paid homage to the African-
American women who have made con
tributions as writers, musicians, ath
letes, actors, astronauts, and spiritual
"African-American women are
strong and invincible because they have
had a vision," she said. "African-
American women will be the leaders
Bryant used ECSU students Trenace
Fayton, an aspiring teacher, and Nikita
Sutton, a criminal justice major who
wants to practice law, as examples of
yoxmg African-American women with
Bryant concluded her address as she
began it—by reading another of
Angelou's poems, "Still I Rise."
Out of the huts of history's shame,
Out of a past rooted in pain...
I rise, I rise, I rise.
versity an additional five community
colleges from which to recruit.
"The Incentive Scholarship program
is also available to transfer students,"
said Rouson. "We hope to bring in 200
new transfer students."
As an extra stimulus to high school
honor students, the program has a new
phase which will grant $5,080 per aca
demic year to some students, as op
posed to the $3,800 available in the
standard grant. These scholars must
score at least 800 on the SAT and have
a 3.0 overall GPA.
Alumni have also played a key role
in the recruiting challenge; they have
granted scholarships, organized re
cruiting receptions, and campus tours,
Retention of students has also been a
problem in the decline in enrollment at
ECSU. A '94-'95 retention synopsis,
written by the Center for Institutional
Assessment, reported that ECSU had
only a 54.8 percent retention rate of
Rouson is convinced, however, that
the new additions to the Incentive
Scholarship program, the rise in SAT
averages, and the cooperative efforts
of alumni, students, faculty, and com
munity will enable the University to
meet its enrollment challenge.
ECSU hopes to dodge ‘devastating
cuts’ by reversing enrollment decline