Hampton University

student spotlight

'Barack the Blue and White':
A HU Senior's Thoughts About Commencement

Krystan Hitchcock

Krystan Hitchcock

There’s less than 4 days left until graduation for the class of 2010 at Hampton University! The spirit of Senioritis is definitely upon us. Not only are we graduating, but President Obama is our commencement speaker! You can see our excitement bubbling just beneath the surface.

What you can’t see are the memories and experiences we’ve shared over these past four years. If you’ve heard anything about the Real HU, you’ve probably heard that we Hamptonians consider each other family. And it’s true. Quintessence VII aka QT7 (naming classes is a storied HU tradition) has celebrated each other’s victories and encouraged each other through losses.

I think I speak for my classmates when I say November 4, 2008 was one of the most moving experiences we’ve shared. We watched in the Student Center as it was declared that Barack Obama would be the nation’s first Black president. We stood yelling in the Student Center, “Yes We Can!”

We had voted in our first presidential election and seen the power of our voices combined. To hear that President Obama’s voice will also be the soundtrack for our segue from Hampton students to Hampton alumni incites emotions for which there are no words.

But let me try.

The commencement speaker is important because he marks an end and a beginning. He marks the end of a year of many lasts as students at this historic place: last class, last exam, last homecoming game, last 12-2, last Alpha Cab, last Black History Extravaganza, last Spring Fest, last meal in the caf, last chicken-on-a-stick etc. He also introduces the beginning of the rest of our lives and all the firsts that come with it.

By now we’ve heard many speakers in Ogden Hall, Convocation Center, Chapel, and Scripps etc. The best speakers are the ones we can relate to, the ones who inspire us to accomplish even our wildest dreams. Who better to give us this inspiration than a man who actually embodies one of those dreams?

Hearing the nation’s first black president speak at our commencement will serve not only as motivation but also a reminder. A reminder that we can be the change we want to see in the world; after all, OUR votes elected him. A reminder that we too can be great because of the similarities we share with Barack Obama.

We too have learned to overcome adversity; not run from it. We too know how to respect ourselves even if we should encounter someone who doesn’t. We know not to let the evils of the world deter us from being truly excellent. We know to compose ourselves with decorum and grace at ALL times so that our actions speak louder than the color of our skin.

So on behalf of QT7, thank you President Obama. We simply can't wait until May 9th.

- Krystan Hitchcock