Tuskegee University: Word from Washington with Presidential Commentary

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“Some people may say that it was Tuskegee’s good luck that brought to us this gift of fifty thousand dollars. No, it was not luck. It was hard work. Nothing ever comes to me, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work. When Mr. Huntington gave me the first two dollars, I did not blame him for not giving me more, but made up my mind that I was going to convince him by tangible results that we were worthy of large gifts. For a dozen years I made a strong effort to convince Mr. Huntington of the value of our work. I noted that just in proportion as the usefulness of the school grew, his donations increased.” -Booker T. Washington, _My Larger Education_ (1911)

Presidential Commentary by Dr. Brian Johnson     

Nothing is more disturbing to hear about individual or organizational success-especially if you have contributed to such success-that such success should be attributed to “luck” and not “hard work”. Hard work involves deliberate and persistent effort directed towards a designated end that is often easy to gloss over when witnessing the outcome and not the work preceding it. And such was Mr. Washington’s work in the advancement and development efforts of Tuskegee Institute (University). Here was a man who did not scoff at any amount received into the coffers of Tuskegee whether great or small.  Without regard to the amount, he “made up [his] mind” to be resolute about his pursuit for even larger ones with his chief aid being “tangible results.” Or, as he wrote elsewhere, “Let[ting] Examples Answer.” For when an organization’s “examples answer,” it becomes easier to proceed from strength to strength because past successes are often the surest indicators of future successes.

Brian L. Johnson, Ph.D.

7th President, Tuskegee University 
#TrustTheTuskegeeTrajectory #TrustTheTuskegeeTradition 


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