PREPARED WITH WINGS: NCCU lauds honors students

Apr. 03, 2014 @ 05:19 PM

Writer and television personality Touré told honors students at N.C. Central University on Thursday that they face a few hurdles to success.

First, the co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle” told them, they must be ready for rejection.
“You need to be the man or woman who hears ‘No’ 100 times and then knocks on 101 doors,” he said.
He urged them to get creative, get relentless and “don’t let anyone tell you what’s impossible.” But he cautioned that this advice was meant in a professional capacity, noting that if you ask a woman out 100 times and she keeps saying no, “you’re a stalker.”
Next, he cited white people as a hurdle, because “they might give you the stinkeye” and have different cultures and values. They may treat you differently, he said, because they think affirmative action put you there.
“We have to be willing and able to adapt to that,” Touré said to his audience at the honors convocation ceremony in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium, which included multiple ethnicities.
It’s not selling out, he asserted. Instead, it’s just code switching or “forming a personality” so that people can relate to you, he said.
“Be aware of how you interact with folks around you,” he said.
The final hurdle, Touré said, is personal confidence.
“Nobody gets to be CEO or TV host without those moments of self-doubt,” he said. “You have to fight through that and believe in yourself.”
Students should believe they can achieve anything and make it happen.
“If you can do that, you can reach whatever your dreams are,” he said.
He told the more than 500 students gathered for the ceremony that, like their eagle mascot, they should be ready to take flight.
“In order for you to succeed, you’re going to have to fly. You’re going to have to be good. You’re going to have to be very good,” he said. “I think you’ve been prepared with wings.”
After the keynote speech, Chancellor Debra Saunders-White recognized Kristopher Cooley, an English major with a concentration in literature with a 3.873 grade-point average, who got the Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence.

Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.