05th Sep2011

NaToya Dingle – South Carolina State University

by Staff

“It was an opportunity for me to be with and learn from people that looked like me…that shared my experiences. I was no longer a minority or a quota/seat filler…I became a person with a bright future.”

C/O 2007

Major: Psychology


Personal Contacts:




How did you decide to become a student at South Carolina State University?

My mother is an alumna of an HBCU. She thought it would be a good experience for me…to attend a smaller school in a smaller city. My decision was made once I was offered an academic scholarship.


What professors at South Carolina State University left the most impression upon you as a student and/or person? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

Dr. Dot Brown (history) was my favorite professor because she ALWAYS encouraged me to think outside of the box…to push all limits! I do believe that she helped me to find a way to express my creative side. She seemed to believe in her students and want the best for us.


What is the story of your “experience” at South Carolina State University given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious HBCU?

It was an opportunity for me to be with and learn from people that looked like me…that shared my experiences. I was no longer a minority or a quota/seat filler…I became a person with a bright future. While at SCSU, I was allowed and encouraged to try new things and make mistakes in order to be a better version of me. College prepared me for life. It didn’t hurt to attend the only HBCU with the stellar Marching 101!!!!!


Where are the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle with your boy or girlfriend?

Orangeburg was definitely known for its lack of entertainment. I believe this is a part of what makes SCSU great. We were forced to be creative and truly get to know our classmates and find new ways to entertain ourselves. The guy I was dating at the time was in the military so we rarely saw each other. I spent most of my time with friends…watching movies and having cookouts…loooots of cookouts.


What were the best restaurants on and near campus? Which dishes did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed going to 1058 Grille in downtown Orangeburg because they had inexpensive hot dogs with the BEST cole slaw on this side of anywhere! I was told that they have since closed down which is sad because their food was great and the prices were awesome too.


What were the chants heard most often at the sporting events?

“Get up for the bulldogs!!! Everybody get up!!”

“Where’s Eddie Moe??? Do the Eddie Moe!!!”


Who was your College crush?

I had the same boyfriend on and off all during college so I really did not get to crush on anyone else.


How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

I wasn’t nervous about college. I was mostly nervous about not doing a great job and thus letting my mother down. I actually welcome adventure and new experiences.


What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

I started out as a psychology and biology double major. I later dropped biology. I wanted to be a child psychiatrist, an athletic trainer or sports psychologist. My career paths were all over the place!!


What has been your proudest moment @ South Carolina State University?

I do believe that one of my proudest moments was being awarded the title of “most outstanding soprano soloist” by the national black music caucus while on the gospel choir. I received a certificate of excellence and other awards from the president of SCSU when I returned to school!


What has been your saddest moment @ South Carolina State University?

Although all of my memories are not happy ones, I really don’t have any “saddest” memories. I count everything as a learning experience and I am glad that I experienced it all.


What did you pledge? And why? And if not, why not?

I did not pledge. I wanted to, buuuut the decision was not mine to make.


How were you positively active on campus? (e.g. clubs, SGA, etc.)

Student Orientation Leader, United Voices of Christ Gospel Choir, Student Union Board, Student Government Association, Concert Choir, Psychology and Sociology Club, NAACP


Where was the “yard” located?

The yard was/is in the very center of campus…behind the bulldog lounge and the pitt…in front of the library and the greek unity wall.


What and where were the historical places on campus?

Every place on our campus seemed historical to me!! The very front of campus was definitely historical as it was the stage of the Orangeburg Massacre. There is Smith-Hammond-Middleton gym which serves as a memorial to the three young men that lost their lives as a result of the massacre. Some of the dorms were historical landmarks on campus as well. Since my graduation, many of them have been completely torn down and a few have been restored.


Are there any ghost stories involving buildings or spots on campus?

No ghost stories to my knowledge.


How many “firsts” did you have at college ? What were they? (e.g. first road trip, first job interview, first love, first “F or A”, etc.)

Everything seemed to be my first in college. I fell in love for the first time. That was my first time away from my mother for so long. I had my first apartment while in college. I had my first drink. The list could go on for days…


If you could speak to those family members that have risen but that live forever through you, what words would you speak?

I would thank them for making me such a strong young woman. I take a piece of each of them everywhere I go…because of them I am able to fight and stand for what I believe in, stand on a stage of an auditorium filled to capacity and sing my heart out, be a friend to those who need me, etc


When and how did you discover your passion in life?

I actually discovered my passion for life a month or so after I graduated from SCSU. I had the opportunity to go on tour in Spain to be a part of a very large music festival they have there. I sang a song, and after the show a woman came up to me and told me in broken English and Spanish that she felt as if I were singing directly to her and that the song brought her to tears because she could feel my sincerity. That one moment has forever changed my life.


Whats your take on life (in the philosophical sense)?

Maybe not as deep as others, but I firmly believe that life is what you make it!! I choose to make my life great because I have no other choice, because I am the descendent of greatness! I am not and never will be afraid to take chances or make mistakes. I am all for love and the pursuit of greatness!


If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

We are children of God. As a result, we have no choice, but to know that there is no such thing as impossible.


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Graduate of an HBCU and true believer in HBCUs being the best at giving a well-rounded education academically and personally.




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