Morgan State University President, Dr. David Wilson receives HBCU Global Leadership Award in Ghana
Honorary Award and mantle of responsibility presented at African Union endorsed Inaugural HBCU Africa Homecoming Summit held in Ghana 400 years after the first enslaved Africans arrived in English America in 1619.
In a citation accompanying the award presented at the African Union endorsed event, Dr. David Wilson was recognized for his visionary and inspiring leadership in HBCU Global Engagement and Impact including Morgan State's technical leadership in the launch of Ghana's first satellite with All Nation's University. Also recognized were his exemplary role in negotiating study abroad opportunities for HBCU Students in China and Africa and his work in setting up the University of Namibia. In attendance at the event were Director of Diaspora Relations at the Office of the Ghanaian President and Chair of the Year of Return Committee, Mr. Akwasi Awuah Ababio, the Manwerehene of the Ashanti King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Baafoor Dr. Osei Hyeaman Brantuo VI, Torgbui Gobah Tengey, Chief of Staff of the Forum of Kings and Traditional Leaders of Africa, Hon. Kojo Yankah, Chancellor of the African University College of Communications, Mr. Abdulai Imoro, Executive Director of NSBE Ghana, General Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students, Prof.N.N.N Nsowaa, President of Dominion University College and Dr. Samuel Donkor, President of All Nations University.
The event held under the theme "400 years: Reclaiming our Oneness, Unveiling our Promise" saw an emerging alliance of HBCUs, the African Diaspora, African Kings, Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the Ghanaian President, the National Society of Black Engineers - Ghana, the National Union of Ghana Students, the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and African beneficiaries of an HBCU Education.
Mr. Kwabena Boateng, Chair of the Inaugural HBCU Africa Homecoming Initiative observed that “400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in English America, it is not on that the galvanizing anchor of commemorative activities was the Cape Coast Castle - a monument of a dark african and human past. 400 years on, it is time to reconnect, reconcile, envision and build a monument to our enlightened present and future; I think the consensus idea of an HBCU Africa Education City being considered with the support of Dr. David Wilson is a befitting context to shape African and African Diaspora institutional engagement going forward.”
In a moving ceremony to affirm this consensus, Togbui Gobah Tengey, Chief of Staff of the Forum of African Kings and Traditional Leaders clothed Dr. David Wilson with symbolic mantle made out of a 60 year old Kente Cloth woven by his father in protest of black oppression. As Dr. David Wilson was being wrapped in the Kente Cloth, a royal poet from the retinue of the Manwerehene of Ashanti, Nana Asaase took the floor to invoke Dr. David Wilson’s soul name - Kwabena- in a deeply moving rendition in the twi language and english that reads:
When a woman is in labor, she does not rejoice..but then after she has delivered she calls for celebration..
And so by now I believe that we have learnt our lesson well..to celebrate our heroes while they yet live.
For heroes are born young usually very different from the rest..they are torn from the breast and as they take on life’s tests they eventually emerge the best.
I also learn that the beard is the broom with which the elders gather wisdom..
Yet, if you meet a man who totes no beard - he could very well be an elder who has picked life’s valuable experiences.
And so in rewriting our narrative on the 2nd of November 1954..something happened, write this down:
On that day when we went to battle and we had lost.. benada(Tuesday). on the day the women chose to mourn the dead.. a man was born..
Mind you..when an arrow hits you in the head, you have no time to think..so to have this pain and overcome it ..then you must be really gifted .. Kwabena..if someone wants to see “red” they should ask Kwabena — he who has seen red and survived.
If any man is seeking one who is sharp..if knowledge were a field..you will be the one to harvest it.. you will be a sickle uniquely equipped to harvest knowledge for the African world.
You may not understand me as I speak my native tongue..but I am the writer-king who sips on communion wine from the calabash.. on behalf of my brothers and sisters gathered here we are so proud to say.. on this day when we write history..we celebrate our own..we are honest about it and we have a good example to look up to.
I do not come to bore you with proverbs or with riddles ..congratulations..
..Mo opiafo(Akan words). The great one who sits upon the golden stool when he ever has need for a walking stick..it is the trusted aide the manwerehene who sorts him out so if the manwerehene endorses you in public then truely you are distinguished.
Dr. David Kwabena Wilson…the distinguished Dr. David Kwabena Wilson.. today we name you and endorse you as distinguished.. To the crowd..have I spoken well?..have I spoken well?.let’s celebrate him”
According to Mr. Kwabena Boateng who also served as the chair of the recognition and awards committee, “The Order of the African Eagle award presented to Dr. David Wilson was inspired by a short story titled the Eagle that Will Not Fly written by Dr. James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey - the first citizen of the Gold Coast to attend an HBCU in the United States.”
Other awards presented were the Order of the Master Teacher award presented to Dr. Yacob Astatke, Vice President for International Affairs in recognition of his inspiring and impactful service in making engineering education accessible to all; Order of the Living Waters Award presented to Mr. Jamerus Payton, Co-founder of HBCU Wall Street in recognition of his visionary and inspired leadership in financial literacy and economic empowerment education focused on the HBCU ecosystem; Order of the Living Waters Award presented to Mr. Garret Taylor in recognition of his literary work to uplift children globally also his inspiring leadership in providing mental health solutions for historically oppressed peoples; Order of the Living Waters presented to Dr. Jewell Green Winn in recognition of her inspiring and impactful service to the cause of
promoting diversity and inclusion in international education.
Dr. Wilson grew up with 10 siblings on a sharecropper farm outside the small town of McKinley, Ala. through hard work, tenacity and the encouragement of his father and his teachers, he became the first person in his family to attend college.
Dr. Wilson’s tenure as Morgan’s president, which began on July 1, 2010, has been characterized by great gains for the University. Among the many highlights are: a second-year retention rate of 76 percent for the entering class of 2013, the highest rate in two decades and the fourth consecutive year that the rate has exceeded 70 percent; procurement of the university’s largest-ever research contract, a $28.5-million, five-year contract from NASA; inclusion of Morgan as one of the recipients of a $129-million energy innovation research grant to Penn State University; an alumni participation-in-giving rate of 17 percent for fiscal year 2015, representing a 183 percent increase since 2010; the founding of a new school, the School of Global Journalism and Communication; the launch of an aggressive initiative to maintain excellence in customer service and improve the information technology infrastructure on campus; new construction on campus valued at more than $271 million; signing of articulation agreements with several two-year colleges, bringing Morgan bachelor’s degrees to their campuses; approval of Morgan’s first off-campus baccalaureate program by the State of Maryland; establishment of Morgan’s first online degree program; a significant expansion of study abroad opportunities for Morgan students; and the continuation of Morgan’s status as the No. 1 HBCU in production of Fulbright scholars and grantees.
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