Note: This is the first in a series of "Life Reports" featuring Livingstone College Alumni. The reports are influenced by an article written by David Brooks of the New York Times several years ago asking people 70 and over to send him their "Life Reports" - essays about their own lives and what they'd done poorly and well. We thought it would be interesting to ask some of our alumni to help us tell the school's story through their own life experiences on campus, the wisdom learned over the years, and to provide an opportunity for current students and young alumni to benefit from their advice.
Name: Marjorie Williams Kinard
Class Year: 1964
Major: Elementary Education
LCNAA: What is your fondest memory of your time at Livingstone College?
Kinard: My fondest memory of my time at Livingstone College was the morning that my parents took me to the campus for the beginning of my freshman year. I just can't explain how happy I was. The way the campus looked, the way the sun fell on the grass, the smell of the newly cut grass and the friendliness of the boys who met us at Goler Hall to take our luggage up to our rooms. My parents let me out in front of the dorm, we kissed goodbye and I never looked back. I was hooked from that moment. I felt as if the college belonged to me. I felt as if I were home. It is a feeling I will never, truly be able to explain.
LCNAA: What did you learn at LC that has made a difference in your life?
At Livingstone College, I learned the true value of responsibility and that it is important to work for what you want. It did not take me long to realize that I had to speak up, stand up and accept the challenges which would come my way so that I could be a better person. I wanted to be somebody. I knew, early on, that everything I did, every organization to which I belonged, and every person who would become my friend would have a part to play in my development. I learned to work hard and to never give up until the job was done. I learned to look beyond the surface of the disappointment, delays and challenges because they would all work together for my eventual good. All of these things have made a difference in my life and to the way I viewed the experiences I have had.
LCNAA: What are you most proud of in your life?
I am most proud of my choice of a lifetime mate, my husband, my friend, and my supporter, John R. Kinard, a Livingstone College graduate. He was a very special man who was a student at Hood Theological Seminary when I met him on the campus. He was a brilliant person who loved to read, loved to travel and who taught me about community activism. He taught me to love my heritage and to love Africa. He encouraged me to be the best that I could and was never jealous, angry or intimidating. He allowed me to be totally free. He made me to know the importance of furthering my education and to improve my writing skills. He taught me that there was nothing I could not do. Most of all, he prepared me for a life without him. He wanted me to be able to get great jobs and to take care of my family. I am most proud to have been the wife of John R. Kinard and to have had and raised his three daughters, all Livingstone College graduates.
LCNAA: Are there any things you wish you had done differently in your life?
I have always wanted to be a comedian, and an actress. There are times that I wish I could have pursued career opportunities in these fields. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been, had I sought to understand and develop skills along these lines. I think I could have done well in both. I must confess that becoming a teacher, a church woman, and an organizational professional, a wife and mother have all brought out both the comedian and actress in me.
LCNAA: What advice would you give to the students on the LC campus today?
Students on the campus today must realize that they are there to get an education. They are there to gain the skills in reading, writing, speaking, networking, and in developing their creative energies. They must seek out opportunities to grow and not waste time in frivolous pursuits. They must go to the library and read the newspapers each day. They must join organizations so that they will learn how to negotiate, build consensus and to accomplish organizational goals. They must want to give back to their communities. They must have a desire to explore the various career opportunities which exist and not be limited by the career of their parents. They must be willing to reach out and to meet new people. They must diversify their friend base. They must consider a long range plan which will outline where they want to be in the next ten years and seek to learn how they may get there. Students must be serious and use spare time wisely.