SXU Holds Emerging Scholars Induction Ceremony
Saint Xavier University (SXU) held an induction ceremony for The Emerging Scholars Mentoring Program on January 27. The program, which kicked off in fall 2019, is designed to promote retention and academic success for African descent and African-American students at SXU. Based on six pillars (Service, Mentorship, Retention, Scholarship, Leadership and Professionalism), the Emerging Scholars work to succeed academically, professionally and socially, focusing their development in education, community involvement and cultural and spiritual awareness.
Students meet once per week to cover topics like consent, breast cancer awareness, social media behaviors, mental health, self-care and more. More than 60 students joined the program in its very first year, highlighting the need for this type of initiative. The Emerging Scholars hope to create an environment that meets the academic, professional and cultural needs of African descent and African-American students, as well as increase their enrollment, retention and graduation rates.
The program's coordinator, Lisa Lyons, academic resource advisor at SXU, is a recipient of the "40 Under 40 Young Women Professionals" award, adjunct faculty member and is considered an outstanding staff member at SXU. Her mentorship is praised by others, and her organization of the program has afforded many students hope. "She had a dream, had a plan and stuck with it to make sure this initiative did not lose steam," said Brian Hill, Ed.D., professorial lecturer of management and marketing.
"This program gives students hope. You feel as though someone has your back on a great start to new beginnings," said Olivia Perry, a biology pre-health major. Tracy Baker, a jazz major, echoes Perry, believing that the program truly has helped them to grow as students. "I enjoy the program because we talk about issues students are most commonly faced with and the ways we can help ourselves become better and grow as students," said Baker.
The induction ceremony opened with a prayer, followed by a greeting from SXU's provost, James MacLaren, Ph.D. "I am honored to be able to share my time with these scholars today," said MacLaren. "In just a short time, they came together to help one another pursue goals and dreams on their academic paths, and building that community provides them a pathway to success. I'm very proud of the accomplishments of all of these students."
The students were inducted by Lyons and Tracy Crump, Ph.D., professor of Criminal Justice. Each scholar had to pledge their dedication to greatness, promising to walk with integrity and uphold the six pillars. The scholars' induction was made official with a pinning. The pins are symbolic of the scholars' commitment to excellence. "We here at SXU work hard to be excellent in everything we do and to be that example for our young people, so they know what's expected every day," said Jacki Griffin, associate director of Financial Aid.
After the students' induction, Lyons invited the advisory board and faculty, staff and the SXU community to participate in their own induction of a promise of continued mentorship. "There's an old proverb that states 'I am because we are.' Students succeed when they are supported because they know 'they are,' partially because parents and mentors 'were,'" said Hill.
In his closing prayer, Darrell Parks, assistant director of Public Safety, said, "We make a greater impact on the world when we have collective mind, strength and power." He urged the faculty and staff of mentors to join hands and surround the students, forming a protective circle to symbolize unity.
"I always say that iron sharpens iron, and I view this organization as a big iron mill. Each individual is an effective piece of that mill, and when students and staff come to this mill, they're coming to get edified and shaped into better or new pieces," said Alexus Woods, a communication major and president of the Black Student Union.
SXU is incredibly proud of all of the Emerging Scholars inductees and looks forward to watching them grow and strive in their commitment to excellence.