Celebrity Panelists Say Be Positive, Remain Strong in College

“Don’t get lost in the sauce” was the message Miss Hall of Fame Ashleigh Taylor had for the Florida A&M community Tuesday.

She discussed her experiences during her sophomore year at the University of Tennessee. She reminisced about struggling to balance her social life along with her school work. Taylor shared memories of being active in SGA and making line.

Taylor was one of the panelists participating in the 2012 Legacy Lecture Series through the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation.

Taylor said her biggest problem was making the right choices and building her character to the woman she is today. “Never look like what you’re going through, look like what you’re going to.”

Jeremy Hudson, a second-year allied heath student from Tampa, Fla., felt as though Taylor’s message was speaking to him directly. “I experienced these same trials and tribulations this year, it felt good to know that it’s common and that this is something I can bounce back from.”

Panelist’s Taylor, Emmanuel Lewis, Dawnn Lewis and Kwame Kilpatrick offered words of encouragement along with their real life experiences to the student body. Approximately 25 people attending this series titled Peeling Back the Truth: Manhood and Womanhood Unwrapped.

“Everyone’s walk of life isn’t going to be the same,” said actor Emmanuel Lewis. Lewis emphasized that everyone will eventually experience a downfall or a dark place in their life. “If you’re stuck on the battle you’re on now, you’re in trouble.”

Dawnn Lewis, actress, singer and songwriter, spoke about having a strong work ethic. “I don’t believe in the word failure, they’re all opportunities.” Opportunities only come to those that are willing to work “Don’t come to me empty handed asking me to hook you up.” She also shared her definition of a leader, “Credentials make you a boss, being a leader is determined by the people who watch and follow you.”

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was unashamed of spotlighting his darkest moment in his career. Kilpatrick spoke about his imprisonment for having an affair with his chief of staff. He explained that it took being locked away in a maximum security prison in solitary confinement for him to realize he didn’t know who he really was. “It’s a lot of pressure for you to be shaped by others, at some point you need to spend some time with yourself.”

The Legacy Lecture Series was developed from a desire to establish a stronger link between past Hall of Fame Inductees, Corporate and Community Partners and Alumni of HBCU’s. The series allows the next generation of leaders inspiration from individuals who share their experiences while promoting the viability of HBCUs.