As the nation’s oldest Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Cheyney University has cultivated a history of long-standing, respected traditions that celebrate our 181 year legacy and culture. One of the many traditions calls for the class celebrating its 50th Anniversary of graduation to lead the Commencement processional. This year, over 50 members of the vibrant class of 1968 graciously returned to their alma mater to proudly usher in a new class of Cheyney alumni.
As they carried the University banner, that honored the group as the members of the 50th Anniversary Class, they held their heads with pride, some even held back tears of sheer joy and immense gratitude.
“This experience has been one of the highlights of my life,” said Reverend Dr. Barbara Green Moses, who was the senior Class President of ‘68. “I’ve been all over the world, blessed with many wonderful experiences, but my years at Cheyney were truly a monumental period in my life.”
During the Commencement ceremony, Dr. Moses took to the stage to address the packed house, remarking that it had been “18,250 yesterday’s ago” since her class had sat where the class of 2018 were now seated, and later presented the University with a check for $40,000, raised by the class, to benefit student scholarships.
Dr. Moses’ presentation marked the culmination of their yearlong fundraising efforts, which may not be over, as she noted that donations were continuing to roll in.
Following the ceremony, the group gathered in Carnegie Hall’s Great Room for a luncheon that took them back down memory lane. Leola Williams of Chester, PA who received her BA in elementary education recalled how she was the first member of her family to attend Cheyney, and now she leads a legacy of generations that later followed in her footsteps to become graduates of this institution.
“It feels wonderful to be able to come back to my alma mater today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my graduating class. It is also amazing to see all of the changes that the University is making, it is a sign of progress in the right direction,” said Williams.
Dr. Moses also took a moment to reminisce and pay homage to her devoted English professor, Dr. Jane Russell, who instilled in her the skills needed to be great writer, lessons that have stuck with throughout her successful career as a teacher and administrator in Philadelphia.
“During those times, there weren’t many opportunities for young people of color from low-income or poor families, so I am forever grateful for the dedication, love and concern that my professors – and everyone else at Cheyney, showed me.”
Dr. Moses, along with her fellow classmates, have pledged to maintain their on-going connection with their alma mater. They will continue to raise funds with the goal of making a sizeable donation to the University every other year during Homecoming.