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Hundreds of New Smithites Attend JCSU Freshman Convocation

Class of 2026

Charlotte, N.C./Sept. 9, 2022 – More than 250 new Golden Bulls received their chord and pin Thursday during Freshman convocation, a JCSU tradition that marks the official welcome of new Smithites into the herd. 

The featured speaker Steven Boyd ’79, chairman of the Board of Trustees, offered a humbling lesson about hard work, determination and the Smithite spirit. 

“One-hundred percent of the baggage you brought in here, you can leave behind you,” he said. “You are here today welcoming a fresh start.” 

Boyd detailed his personal journey to success, starting with his childhood. He lived in a single-parent household with six other siblings. 

He recounted that suddenly, nearly every aspect of his life was now up to him. There was no one telling him when to go to bed, wake up for class, go to church on Sunday or even make sure he was eating three square meals a day. 

He decided then that he would enact a code so he could enjoy a traditional college experience while staying focused in the classroom. 

“Your life is divided into two components – the professional and the personal,” he said. “The professional part is the half you don’t have to do alone. Here at JCSU, you have the support of counselors, an academic support team and others to guide you. The personal is the part you have to do alone.” 

Boyd’s advice to the class of 2026 was clear: treat your experience as JCSU with professionalism. He urged students to connect with professors and staff members; to remember to aim for progress, not perfection; and to have a good attitude when facing the challenging years ahead. 

“The three things I can always count on are God’s grace, my mother’s love and my experience as a student at Johnson C. Smith University,” he said. 

President Clarence D. Armbrister applauded Boyd for his resilience and persistence in achieving his goals. 

“Success is not the result of a spontaneous combustion,” shared Armbrister. “You must set yourself on fire. One of the most common things about successful people is that they take control of their own success, and Chairman Boyd is a great example of that.” 

Convocation also featured a welcome message from Dr. Karen D. Morgan, senior vice president of Academic Affairs; Dr. Rhonda Moses, associate vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management; and Kennedy Pearson ’23, SGA president. 

Between speeches, the Johnson C. Smith University Concert Choir, along with special alumni choir guests, performed. 

The afternoon culminated with a recitation of the honor code and the class pinning ceremony. 

JCSU is excited to welcome the entering class of 2026, and is looking forward to seeing them grow in the light of truth and right as they hold high the Gold and Blue.

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