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A Lesson From My Father

My unwavering commitment to my country and my community is due to my parents. They set the bar from even when I was young that it is one's moral obligation to help those in need and serve in the community. Even now they are in their 60s, they still serve within their church and community.

On this Father’s Day, I will highlight my Dad who has taught me so much, but the greatest lesson my Dad has taught me is to Pursue Purpose and Impact, and Not The Money. My Dad was a medical researcher at Duke University for over 20 years, and his research had resulted in patents and published articles in scholarly journals. At the pinnacle of his career, he left Duke to teach at St, Augustine's University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Raleigh, NC.

This drastic career move had me scratching my head because he did not attend a HBCU, but I distinctly remember him mentioning that once my siblings and I were out of college, he wanted to teach. See my Dad attended NC State for both his Bachelors and Doctorate, and while at NC State he developed mentor relationships with two faculty, Dr. Witherspoon and Dr. Clark who he had a mentor relationship/ father-son relationship with until their deaths. Honestly, I believe their examples are the reason why he attained a Doctorate degree, and why he left the lab to teach at St Augustine’s.

My father could have easily taught at a Predominately White Institution (PWI) for he never attended an HBCU himself, but he wanted to fulfill his purpose at an institution where he would have the greatest impact on students who looked like him. After spending some time with my Dad on campus at St. Augustine's University, I was able to see first hand the impact he is having with the students on campus. It seemed like my Dad was a celebrity on campus because every student we passed greeted him with excitement, and even in the classroom his students were excited and engaged. In that moment I understood his why!

I am thankful for the positive example my father has set in that life is about Purpose and Impact, and not Money. On this Father’s Day, I honor my Dad by living the lesson he taught me in that one should Pursue Purpose and Impact, and Not the Money!


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