Meda moase! (thank you all)…
Today commences the start of another school year. Is it just me, or did the summer break fly by way too fast? So fast that I was still finalizing my syllabi and course assignments early this morning (yikes!), which is very unlike me. I guess my students’ procrastinating ways are rubbing off on me (that’s for you Taijh lol!). Time flies when you’re having fun, right?! Anyhow, it’s crazy to think that I’m beginning my SEVENTH year at LSU and my first as a tenured associate professor. No doubt, there were highs and lows during the journey, but for sure, more of the former than the latter. With that being said, I’d be remised to not thank and acknowledge all those who played an integral role in me getting to this point.
So, many thanks to all my family members, especially my wife, Michelle. Her love, support, and various sacrifices contributed mightily. And my three little kiddos. Lord knows they bring so much joy to my life! Also, my colleagues, my students past and present (love yall!), my academic peers at other universities, including “reviewer 2” (ha!), and my church friends, your support does not go unnoticed. Also, where would I be without the amazing teachers and professors who imparted knowledge and challenged me? Two stand out; my high school, junior year English teacher (shoutout Richardson High School!), Kim Carlton, and my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. John N. Singer. I didn’t enjoy going to many classes in high school, but I can honestly say I enjoyed going to Kim’s. It was also in this class that I grew fond of writing! Good ol Doc Singer! Big bro Singer! He schooled me to the game of academia. So much wisdom that came in handy when I started the professor life! ‘Preciate that, brotha!
Lastly, the University of Oklahoma McNair Scholar Program deserves a special shout out! For those unfamiliar, the McNair Scholars program is a federal TRIO program that encourages first-generation, low-income students and students from historically underrepresented ethnic groups to pursue Ph.D. study and ultimately enter academia. As the son of immigrants, I was a first-generation college student, along with a laundry list of other “firsts” in my family. Needless to say, I had little guidance upon entering college, and it’s thanks to programs like McNair that the son of immigrants from a low-income family can attain a Ph.D. and then go on to provide his children with a life he did not have. Moreover, I’m one of only 64 black faculty on campus (out of 1,563 total faculty). That number isn’t great, but I’m sure McNair played a role in some of the other black faculty on campus as well. To that end, thanks to OU McNair staff, particularly Carlos Rodriguez and Sophia Morren for believing in me and affording me the opportunity!
It literally feels like yesterday I arrived here, just Michelle and I. Six years and three kids later (wow!), Baton Rouge has become home. If you would have told me in 2010 when I drove through Baton Rouge to attend the annual Sport Marketing Association conference in New Orleans that almost 10 years later, “you’ll be living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, married, and with three children,” I would have scoffed and told you that you’re crazy! Welp, here I am! Looking forward to experiencing and seeing what is to come next in my story that started with my dad’s journey from Ghana to the U.S. in the early 1970s with one little suitcase in hand. Many goals in mind, that’s for sure, some more difficult than others. But…
I can hear my parents now: Kwame, you are an Af-ri-can, not Af-ri-can’t. With that tutelage and mindset, anything is possible, right?