Tuskegee University: The Daily Word from Washington with Presidential Commentary


“More than that, a school that is content with merely turning out ladies and gentlemen who are not at the same time something else — who are not lawyers, doctors, business men, bankers, carpenters, farmers, teachers, not even housewives, but merely ladies and gentlemen — such a school is bound, in my estimation, to be more or less a failure.”-Booker T. Washington, _My Larger Education_(1901)

Presidential Commentary by Dr. Brian Johnson  

In keeping with his constant emphasis that “style”-however impressive to the eye or palpable to the ear-will never ever be a replacement for “substance,” Booker T. Washington here speaks to the central purpose of a university education. Make no mistake, appropriate dress and eloquent speech is quite essential for the university-trained man or woman. Grades alone without accompanying poise, presence and posture will not assure one’s entrance into career fields where appearance often factors into personal prejudices and/or preferences. All the same, “knowledge,” which is the second greatest 9-letter word after “integrity,” is one of the single most important attributes to be in possession of for the university-trained man or woman for not only the successful entrance into a field of activity but a successful stay. Whether in the 19th Century or the 21st Century, one has to know something. In an increasingly knowledge-based economy and society, “knowledge” is the chief currency and substance in fields of activity where performance enables one to transcend multiple work environments. And the institution that is more concerned with what is upon the backs of her students than what is between the ears of her students, is in the founding principal and president of Tuskegee (Institute) University’s “estimation…more or less a failure.”

Brian L. Johnson, Ph.D.

7th President, Tuskegee University
#TrustTheTuskegeeTrajectory #TrustTheTuskegeeTradition

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