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  • Writer's pictureJacinth Jones

The HBCU Class of '21 Savage(s)

The class of 2021 adapted to Zoom university for the past year. Some students were lucky enough to return to campus while adhering to pandemic guidelines but others left as second-semester juniors and returned as graduating seniors for socially-distanced graduation ceremonies. Last year, 10 graduating seniors penned a final goodbye to their alma mater. This year, we’re continuing the inaugural series with two doctoral students and six undergraduates who braved the past two to four years. Here’s their goodbye to the colleges and universities they say changed them for the better.

Ariel Brown | Xavier University of Louisiana

After six, fun, but arduous years, I finally bid my ado to Xavier University of Louisiana.

I want to thank you, Xavier, for making me who I am today. At 18, I never could have imagined the journey I had in store, but am thankful for it. Thank you for teaching me what Black excellence is and emphasizing the ongoing importance of HBCUs in the present day. You taught me how to be myself unapologetically and to do it with grace.

Credit: Audie Jackson (@audie_jay)

Thank you, Xavier, for my 43 line sisters and the long-lasting sisterhood I will treasure forever. Thank you, Xavier, for teaching me how to be a leader when I doubted my abilities. Thank you, Xavier, for allowing me to create friendships with like-minded individuals who value giving back to the underserved. Thank you, Xavier, for the Black excellence that will reign forever.

This is not a goodbye because the legacy will continue. You made the second Dr. Brown in my family and I can only hope there will be many more. The journey was no doubt demanding but I’m grateful for all the lessons and constant support from my Xavier family. I will always be Xavier PROUD.


Jeremiah McFadden | South Carolina State University

To my dear South Carolina State University,

Thank you.

This moment is surreal. I can’t believe my time here is coming to a close. I remember the days before my junior year, picking the daisies and thinking “to transfer…to transfer not.” But reminiscing on my journey here, I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that becoming a bulldog was the best decision of my life thus far.

As I entered the groves and classic halls of this illustrious university, I felt nothing but warmth

and welcome from every soul I met. Never did I imagine I would be poured into with such

fervent love and support.

Being a first-generation college student from a small town, I wanted to set an example for

little boys and girls and show them they can do anything they put their mind to. With no

blueprint or knowledge of financial aid, scholarships, grants, greek life, and college life in general, I made it. I am sure I made mistakes, but I also made my mark.

Who would’ve thought I would become Mister Junior and now SGA chief of staff. To those I inspired, you have also inspired me. With all of my heart and soul, thank you.

This experience was legendary. I learned a great deal about myself and gained so much confidence and tenacity to the point where nothing could ever take that away. I’ve gained a family and so many other things more valuable than any degree I could’ve earned. South Carolina State University saved my life. I do love and cherish thee…Hail Hail!


Amari Harper | Spelman College

Dear Spelman,

To say our ride together was a rollercoaster would be an understatement. As cliché as the saying is, you really taught me to turn my lemons into lemonade. My matriculation through Spelman was never easy and with every obstacle, I was reminded just how tenacious I truly am.

From losing my father in 2019 and not knowing how I would continue my Spelman journey, to becoming the 2020-2021 Spelhouse homecoming director, I was reminded that bad times don’t always last. Through the highs and lows, the four years I spent within your realms helped shape me into the woman I am today. I am forever thankful. It was just yesterday that I moved into HH my freshman year and now I’m leaving as a Spelman woman - hoping to pour into the world just as you poured into me.


Amari Harper

C/O '21


Cameron Nolan | Morehouse College

To Mother Morehouse,

I am forever grateful to be trusted by God enough to have been chosen as one of your few sons. I am truly overcome with gratitude as I reflect on how magnanimous this collegiate experience has been for me. Morehouse molded me.

Credit: Sizwe Chapman (@sizwe.way)

Without this sacred land standing firm in the red clay hills of Atlanta, Georgia, the Cameron I am today would not exist. I find great beauty in how a wide-eyed and eager freshman can adventure to this place and be made malleable by the minds that surround him. Spaces as scared as this must be protected at all costs. For it is the legacy of this beloved institution in which I know that I am capable of all things.

Mother Morehouse, I vow to never lose sight of everything you have taught me. This address is far from a goodbye. It is merely a see you later.


Cameron Markell Nolan

The 89th Student Government Association President

Morehouse College


Rachel Darko | Meharry Medical College

Dear Meharry Medical College,

It is difficult to accurately describe my appreciation for you but I will try nonetheless. I am grateful you molded a Ghanaian-American immigrant woman into a pediatrician. The pandemic has underscored the desperate need for Black physicians now more than ever. With your preparation, I am ready to become one of them.

You have instilled in me the mission of our institution: Worship of God through service to mankind. Though the celebration of my M.D. largely differs from the fanfare of previous classes, I am no less honored and blessed to join our prolific legacy of physicians and to serve children and adolescents most in need.

Credit: Sarah B. Harrison (@sharrisonphoto)

To our faculty and staff, especially in the department of pediatrics, thank you for teaching me how to care for our patients with humility. Your examples as excellent clinicians and steady advocates have left lasting impressions on my career. Thank you for being patient with me even when I was not with myself.

To my friends from #21Savage, thank you for housing me, feeding me, encouraging me, and driving me (literally and figuratively) throughout the past four years. We have studied, prayed, mourned, and laughed together. You are more than my colleagues: we are family.

To the Meharry Chapter of the Student National Medical Association, thank you for allowing me to serve you and the Nashville community as your president. I am forever grateful for the privilege to have led a co-founding chapter of this amazing organization.

Since 1876, you have produced thousands of African-American physicians. This year, in 2021, I am proud to become one of them as a pediatric resident at Johns Hopkins University.

Eternally grateful,

Rachel Asare Darko, M.D.


Julia Weng & Jackson Fuller | Howard University

To our beloved Mecca,

We knew this day was coming but we never could have known it would come under the current circumstances. We missed out on so much of our last two years at Howard, but are so grateful that we found each other before that.

Credit: Mikael Selassie (@mikaelselassi)

Standing under these gates, handcrafted to symbolize the excellence of this institution and all who walk under it, hand-in-hand and side by side is one of the greatest gifts Howard could have ever given to us. And we are forever grateful for our journeys to and through Hilltop high ultimately led us to each other.

To HU21, we were destined for greatness the moment we committed ourselves to always walk in truth and service. We are so proud of us all for making it through such a historic and turbulent four years! We did it! And we can't wait to see all that we accomplish in the next chapters of our lives.

Leaving Howard is never a goodbye, just a see you soon!

With love,

Julia & Jackson


Dmitri Yearby | Lincoln University of Pennsylvania

To my dear orange and blue,

Since I first stepped foot on this campus, I was forever grateful for the experiences I have had. Though my senior year was not what I expected, I am nothing but thankful for the last four years at my institution. Without my HBCU, I would not be where I am today.

Credit: Elijah Townes

Because of Lincoln, my friends became family. I served my community in numerous capacities as a three-time class king and Man of the Year. I had the greatest honor as the 29th Mister Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. What made it even better was that I got to serve alongside my forever queen, Brianna Blake.

I am officially a graduate of the nation’s first degree granting HBCU, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania! As I start my career at JP Morgan Chase & Co, I will always have Lincoln close to my heart and sometimes my chest with Lincoln swag.

Thank You Lincoln for everything! See you later as an alumnus!

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