on one’s life. I fully understand that while I talked about balance, I never practiced it. And I fully understand that my need to go is as much a result of my own exhaustion as anything else.
I am not an HBCU graduate, and had I been, I would likely have been a very different person. At my undergraduate college, African- American students fought to establish their intellectual chops, while at Bennett, the development of intellectual chops is applauded and encouraged. Without being an HBCU graduate, I am an HBCU fan, and my experience at Bennett convinces me that I will always be. I love my college so much that I hate to leave it, but it’s time.
When I say that I have never had a job for more than five years, I’m being flip. I wrote for Black Issues for 15 years, have been affiliated with USA Today since 1986, and have written columns (my first love) since 1984. But I am a free sprit that rebels against structure, and I accepted the structure of leading a college, I realized that conformity would be a stretch goal. I stretched for five years. Now I need to exhale.
There is a Japanese haiku that my sister, Mariette, shared with me. My barn has burned down, now I can see the moon. Bennett has been the space that I chose to come to because I am committed to African- American people, to our education, to college access. I thrived at the college, and yet I am mindful of the concept of season. My barn has burned down, and the moon that I see is spaceless and endless. Bennett will always have a piece of my heart, and yet, for so many reaons, this is the season for my departure. I am leaving my college with satisfaction with my accomplishments, and with a sense of poignant reflection on that which has been done, and that which might have been done. I leave my college enriched, informed, and regarded in the fight for social and economic justice. I am leaving my college – it will always be my college – because it is time, because God is good, after you’ve done all you can, you just stand. I’m standing in the power of education. Standing in the power of access. Standing in the energy of HBCUs. Standing grateful and strong. Standing, ready for the next chapter of my life.