Student’s legacy lives on through service

Darryl Sharpton always knew when Vincent McGhee showed up with his little son, Vincent Jr., in tow, it could only mean one thing.


Little Vinny, as many of his family and friends called him, would outmatch his father’s friends’ children at a game of wits, to the delight of the audience at hand.

He said it was those moments the other children feared.

“He was gonna cause someone to get whupped, fussed or cussed out because they weren’t up to Vinny’s intellectual level,” said Sharpton, his father’s best friend.

From his home in Miami, Vincent Pierre McGhee Jr. took his show on the road to Tallahassee to become a lawyer like his father.

On that same road he met his end.

McGhee died on April 26 after driving his car off the road on his trip home following finals week. He was 17 years old.

On Wednesday night, nearly 200 family, friends, students and school officials gathered at Lee Hall to pay their respects to the late political science student who graduated from Coral Gables High School in 2001.

Barbara Oguntade, a professor, said it was important to have a memorial service for Vincent, who died as students were making their own trips home and to other destinations for the summer.

“Many students weren’t knowledgeable of his death,” said Oguntade, who was McGhee’s adviser.

Oguntade talked about a student that would bring people to her he thought needed more direction. She said he gave more time to others than he usually gave to himself.

“His life achievements were made in his excellence,” she said.

Brandon Kiel remembered talking to McGhee about getting advised. McGhee had just told Kiel the details of his schedule for the next year.

“He told me ‘It’s your life,'” he said. “His words inspired me to get in the driver’s seat and devise my own road map.”

A pit stop on McGhee’s road map included starting a volunteer program at nearby Bond Elementary School.

Other FAMU students have chosen to make that program a reality by volunteering their time in McGhee’s name.

His family is starting a scholarship in his name for both a male and female student that will be given out in the spring.

“His days here were the happiest days of his life,” said Garrian McGhee, his mother.

Besides his mother, he is survived by a sister, Morgan.

During the service, many students acknowledged all the activities McGhee was involved in. He was active in the Hatchett PreLaw Society and a volunteer with the Student Government Association – an organization in which he ran for a freshman senate seat.

“He truly made his mark on the campus of Florida A&M,” said Tyre Sperling, who was a freshman senator last year during McGhee’s volunteer period.

“And for that, we will never forget him.”