By Kevin Klenkel
Bowie State University was honored to be inducted into Education Innovation Initiative fellows and scholars. The March 11 event had three guest speakers with highly impressive resumes. The ceremony was both thought-provoking and beautiful.
Rob S. Stewart, Associate Director for Acquisition Compliance and Mentor Protégé Program Manager, OUSD, gave an overview and history of the initiative. Its purpose: develop skilled students to be ready to participate in the professional sphere.
While speaking on the importance of mentors, Stewart inspired many with his proclamation, “If you put yourself in a position to; and the ability to be coached, by your mentor, the sky is the limit.”
Provost Weldon Jackson celebrated alumni Traviss Green, founder of the Education Innovation Initiative and currently is the director of DoD Business Development for the Intel Corporation.
Green, in his dedication, remembered his late father, a former professor at Bowie State, and was brought to tears in a highly emotional speech. Though his speech was brief he gave advice and recognition to the students being honored. He also shared his secret for success—passion, purpose and preparation.
He validated Bowie’s student body stating, “Every student here matters,” an encouraging sentiment. He went on to explain to prospective graduates, “If you are not clear of what you want to be; it’s OK. You have support—unique opportunities.”
The final speaker, Andre Gudger, acting deputy assistant secretary director for Manufacturing and Industrial Base, gave an amazing speech about his journey from working on his grandfather’s farm to where he is today. He credits not only his family and those who support him but also, his ability to seize opportunity and take advantage of education. He warned that the worst advice he ever received was, “follow the money.” He instead chose to innovate.
Forty-seven students were inducted to the very prestigious initiative, bringing pride to themselves, their families, the university and the community.