I am honored and humbled by the special opportunity I was afforded as a non-traditional undergraduate student to earn my Bachelor's degree from within the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) founded by the late scholar-activist, Dr. Manning Marable. The depth, rigor and ever-relevant material contained in the Institute’s interdisciplinary curriculum, the intellectual heft expressed by the faculty, many leading scholars and pioneers in their respective fields, and the sophistication of my peers who continually pushed the limits of my perspective in our intimate seminars, created a didactic atmosphere that was transformative.
I can without equivocation say this first-rate liberal arts education was the most enlightening and substantive experience of my life thus far and one that will undoubtedly influence all of my future endeavors. There truly is no greater gift than an education, especially one rooted in dissecting an oft-gerrymandered history, especially one rooted in fostering both ethos and critical thinking, especially one that compels you to take the theoretical tools and knowledge accrued in the classroom and head out into the streets to make it practical, to forge coalitions, challenge corrupt power structures and work to build a more just and equitable society. This is the education and great gift IRAAS provided me.