By: Keishera Lately/ Clarion News
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – On Feb. 10, 2022 Lincoln students, faculty, and alumni gathered in Richardson Fine Arts Center to celebrate the university’s founding 156 years ago. Carmen Fields, Lincoln Alumni and Emmy award-winning journalist, delivered the keynote address.
Fields graduated from Lincoln in 1970 with a degree in journalism. She then became the first African-American female reporter at KRCG-TV, a CBS affiliate based in Jefferson City.
She later moved to Boston, where she was one of two African-American women reporters at the Boston Globe newspaper. Fields has earned two Emmy’s for her work, as well as serving as a former board member for the National Association of Black Journalists.
Fields noted that while studying at Lincoln, she was part of an HBCU with the only journalism degree program at the time.
She reminded the audience that without the founder’s legacy, Lincoln wouldn’t be where it is today. Fields thanked the founders “for their foresight – they saw a need, and they addressed it.”
“Look around you,” Fields said to fellow Lincolnites. “In your life, in your community – what issues or causes do you see that need to be addressed? I encourage you to keep the same fervor of the founders.”
She challenged students to make a difference in their communities and make a difference for the future.
“There is a movement of foot in this nation to erase that history from the books, from the websites. Don’t you dare let them. Don’t minimize or waste this grand history or any stories of triumph and determination,” said Fields.
She suggested that students take strong advantage of their educational opportunity. “Keep the thirst for education that motivated them, burning in you.”
Fields encouraged the university students to give and share themselves to those who are around them as the founders of Lincoln did. “Don’t pull up the ladder behind you. Don’t say I got mine, you figure out how to get yours.”
She said the students today have a unique opportunity for leadership in the world of equality and justice. “Because you have been in class with people of different backgrounds and races, you know first-hand the dangers of stereotypes and false assumptions,” said Fields.
“Remind yourself daily, several times a day of your many blessings,” Fields said. “There is always something to be grateful for.”
She also mentioned that when the time comes, she hopes that everyone will not hesitate to do what must be done, just as the Lincoln founders did.
Fields closed her address with another challenge for students: maintain an attitude of gratitude.
To watch the 2022 Founders Day Celebration, click here.