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In 1868, the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute opened its doors under the leadership of its twenty-nine-year-old founder, General Samuel Chapman Armstrong. In spite of a proud history, social movements and the national economy had brought the institute to the brink of disaster 110 years later when William R. Harvey was appointed president. Brushing aside suggestions that the institute abandon its program of higher education and reconstitute itself as a preparatory school, Harvey began by dreaming dreams that were both big and infectious. Twenty-five years later, the successes are extraordinary. The institute became a university, sixty four new academic programs were established, the endowment fund has grown to more than six times its 1978 level, the budget has been rescued from a sea of red ink and is now cruising safely in the black, fourteen new building that have been raised and all the old ones spiffed up. Among other such achievements is an innovative venture into commercial enterprise--the profits from which are applied to scholarship funds. Detailed throughout this book are specific examples of decision making processes, priorities, programs and approaches that worked for Harvey and can work for you as well. Overriding all else, though, is a commitment to people, expressed as one leader's w9ill to improve the lot of others. ‘If you can help somebody--do it! If you can alleviate someone's pain--do it! If you can brighten someone's day with a kind word--do it! If you can be less bureaucratic--do it! If you can reach out and positively touch just one somebody--do it! If you can alleviate just one somebody's misery--do it!' And don't forget to dream large!
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Lois Benjamin, Ph.D., Endowed University Professor of sociology, received her B.A. degree in sociology from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Black Elite: Facing the Color Line in the Twilight of the Twentieth Century, Three Black Generations at the Crossroads: Community, Culture, and Consciousness an is the editor of Black Women in the Academy: Promises and Perils. She has also published several articles in professional journals.
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