Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It know it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
Timelines were truly flooded last week, after many learned of the passing of Dr. James A. Hefner, Tennessee State University’s 6th President. As a non-TSU grad (but with many family members who have called TSU home), I did not know much about Dr. Hefner. However, after reading so many touching testaments from so many former students, there were 3 things I received that truly show he left behind a legacy.
1. He cared about students on a genuine, personal level. As I mentioned, my timeline was flooded with great memories about Dr. Hefner and the common thread was the personal touch he extended to many students. He wanted to get to know them on a first name basis and see them succeed. Not many colleges students can say my president knew my name.
2. He had a passion for HBCU’s. Dr. Hefner spent time working and serving many historically black institutions, from Jackson State University, Tuskegee Institute, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University.
3. He inspired others with this quote:
These words ring so true to me. I appreciate receiving a crash course in learning about Dr. Hefner and the awesome impact he made in Nashville. Now, this is a great conversation starter!