The Livingstone Legacy, Continue The Vision
Rev. Michael McLean
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
To Dr. Jimmie R. Jenkins, Sr. President of Livingstone College, To Rev. William E. Simmons, President of this grand association, to Carmon Wilder, Director of alumni Affairs, Susan Watson, president of the charlotte chapter, To the officers, members and friends of the Livingstone College national alumni association who have gathered for our annual spring meeting being held in the Queen City of Charlotte, North Carolina, greetings.
Allow me to begin by saying that you are in God’s country. For you who don’t know, this is were God resides, he visits everywhere else.
I am delighted to welcome you on this auspicious occasion as we assemble together these few days to advance the cause of higher education at Livingstone College. Livingstone College has been a part of my life since the time I was able to comprehend because that’s all my father taught us. Some of you may have known him, the Rev. Edward C. McLean from Harnett County North Carolina. Class of 1959. My daddy loved him some Livingstone College. As a matter of fact, that was the only school we were expected to attend. Not only did I graduate from Livingstone but my wife Gloria did as well, class of 1994. When I became an adult, I expected my children to attend. I have two daughters and both are college graduates, however I was only successful in getting one to attend Livingstone.
As a former student, former board member of the LCNAA and active chapter member of this association, I count it a privilege to have had the opportunity to matriculate beneath the maples and the oaks.
Livingstone is a wonderful college with a rich legacy that helped to shape and create generations of leaders which made a tremendous impact in our global society.
This impact was possible because of the vision given by the supreme creator to leaders such as its founder, Joseph Charles Price and others, who caught the vision and developed it’s purpose. I am reminded by scripture that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
I am grateful for their vision because it has provided continued opportunities for countless youth to receive and continue to receive a college education that will help them compete in this global society.
During this time which is mine to share I would like to talk about the Livingston Legacy and the importance of continuing the vision.
Vision is essential to any person or institution that promotes a mission, and desires a purpose. In the development of a vision it is subject to change as the world changes.
Because it is a vision, it is dynamic, not static. Over time, the vision must be renewed, adapted and adjusted to the culture context in which it exist.
One of the struggles why I could not get my younger daughter to attend Livingstone is because she could not see Livingstone’s vision. She saw Livingstone being out of touch with her generation. During my daddy’s generation it was known as a Christian school that pride itself on producing teachers and preachers. In my daughter’s generation it is known as being old school. Buildings are old, no co-ed dorms, too many rules and the list goes on. The mistake I made was talking about what it used to be rather than lifting up the school’s vision. Livingstone possesses a vision, and at the vision’s core is the essence of what makes her great.
In this culture of entitlement this generation sometimes loses the essence of the vision because they get caught up in the external influences rather than the internal influences.
In other words the vision has to compete with the virtual. It’s about what’s up rather than what it’s all about. For this present generation vision has no depth in it’s core. From the old school perspective it’s all about the core. For us the core represents value, purpose, and meaning. Change should only take place at the margins of the vision, not at it’s core.
I contend that’s why Livingstone is a great institution, because it is solid at the core. This weekend our goal as an Alumni Association is to continue the development of the vision.
In order to continue the development of the vision we must do several things.
First of all we must encourage unity: If we are to build a greater LCNAA we must encourage unity. I stopped by to remind us where there is unity there is strength. I contend that a shared vision changes our relationship with one another. When we join together in unity it is no longer your vision but our vision. The Livingstone legacy that Joseph Charles Price left was a vision that encourages us and allows us to come together and wok together.
It creates a common identity in two ways. First, it signals to all where the vision is taking us. It says that if you want to go where we are going then climb on board so that we can go together. Secondly, it fosters the retention of alumni that love the legacy of our institution. A common vision says that we are working together toward the same core goals. LCNAA, we need each other if anything significant is going to happen for Livingstone College.
Not only must we encourage unity but we must create energy. If we are to continue the vision we must create energy. Not much happens without an inspiring, compelling vision.
Notice I did not say negative, contrary or repugnant energy, but inspiring and compelling energy.
The reason why young alum won’t attend our meeting is because we serve up the wrong kind of energy. These young folk don’t want to come hear us fuss and fight all day long.
It’s time to create some positive energy so that the Livingstone Legacy will live on. A vision that is saturated with inspiration has the potential to turn a negative mentality to a positive mentality, thus resulting in a vision that will resonate with those who love this great institution called Livingstone.
And finally, if we are going to continue the vision of this great legacy we must not only encourage unity and create energy, but we must promote excellence.
As I reflect upon the life of the late Dr. Price, he was a man who believed in excellence. I am convinced that he desires that his school continue the spirit of excellence. Whatever we do this weekend as an association should be done in excellence. Not sloppily or haphazardly, nor with a negative mentality. As we deliberate these few days let us develop a shared organizational vision that promotes a standard of excellence.
Then and only then will we be able to continue the Livingstone legacy and promote the cause of higher education for our people.
In closing, I encourage us to continue the vision by creating unity, energy and excellency so that Livingstone college will continue to be the institution of higher learning for generations to come.
Check out the LCNAA Spring meeting story on Steller.
And here is day two in pictures.
Dr. Herman Felton makes the case for giving in this short YouTube interview at the spring meeting.