Updated: Nov 28
I’m both humbled and thrilled to have been asked to deliver the keynote address at this year’s Delaware State University Convocation to open the 2023 school year! This was not just any speaking engagement for me – it’s a return to where it all began.
DelState, as we fondly call it, isn’t just any university. It’s MY alma mater! Graduating in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, I can vividly remember the days when I took my first steps toward my dreams right on this hallowed ground. From those tentative steps, the world watched as I soared through my chosen career in television.
The HBCU experience is unparalleled. For me, as a young single mother in college, it was the exact environment I needed to keep going—a unique concoction of nurturing, education, and endless inspiration. It is a place where budding dreams are given the wings to fly high, knowing you are at home, and I stand as a testament to that.At DelState, I didn't just get an education; I found my purpose, my voice. This was the place where the seeds of my self-esteem and confidence were sown, allowing me to navigate spaces where there were few faces like mine. It was right here that I aired my thoughts on my first radio show, interviewing such stars as Busta Rhymes and Steady B, for those of you tuned into the early days of HIp-Hop. It was also here that I penned my visions as the assistant editor of the school newspaper, which granted me the opportunity of a lifetime to interview one of my favorite singers of all time, the late, great Miss Nancy Wilson.
Cathleen with Rapper “Steady B.” Cathleen crowned “Miss Calendar Girl” Cathleen Interviews Nancy Wilson for Hornet Newspaper at DSU on her DSU Radio Show
Life for me at DelState knew no boundaries. I recall my freshman year, marching into the president’s office, demanding a meeting to inquire why there was no mass communications major. Fast forward, a year later, I was instrumental in helping to lay the foundation for what is now the mass communications department — the largest department at DSU. I recall starting, and being elected the very first Mass Communications Society President. I guess you can say I was a trailblazer even back then, always believing if it doesn’t exist, create it! Oh, and who can forget the joy of being enveloped in the sisterhood of my beloved, sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., and that surreal moment when I was crowned “Miss Calendar Girl”! Life has a beautiful way of coming around. Today, as a proud member of the Delaware State University foundation board, I am fortunate to give back. My endowed scholarship is a token of gratitude, a beacon for a budding journalist, or a future scientist, and dreamers to find their voice and path. I want to extend a heartfelt 'Thank You' to the Delaware State University family for granting me this opportunity to inaugurate an exhilarating school year. To the students, faculty, and everyone in attendance, I hope my words left you inspired, motivated, and maybe, just maybe, sprinkled a bit of magic as you embark on this academic journey. Thank you, DelState! HBCU’s have never been more important, and this is one of my proudest moments.