“Mr. Saffold: I send you by bearer a sample of the bread which was given the students yesterday for their dinner. You can easily see that such cooking is not only a great waste but is very injurious to the health of the students. I am sure that we are paying enough now for service in connection with the boarding department to have things in first class condition. I do not think there is any necessity for giving the students so much fat meat as that on this saucer would indicated that they are given.” – “September 28, 1898,” Booker T. Washington
Presidential Commentary by Dr. Brian Johnson
This piece of correspondence from the founding principal and president of Tuskegee (Institute) University, Booker T. Washington, gives new meaning to his oft-used expression: “Let examples answer.” Although he sent Frank E. Saffold a “sample of the bread which was given the students,” Mr. Washington sent something far more important; He sent his concerns about food that “is very injurious to the health of the students.” Here again, the president of any university has a great many responsibilities and the quality of food services for its students is near the top. Mr. Washington clearly understood that promoting life-long health and wellness for students begins during their matriculation at a university, and made certain that he was equally meticulous in his oversight of the food he was serving as he was with the funds he was raising.
Brian L. Johnson, Ph.D.
7th President, Tuskegee University