05th Sep2011

Dexter Mullins – North Carolina A&T State University

by Staff

“….I definitely had many firsts at A&T. I had some of my best jobs while in school, I met my best friends, I took my first roadtrip, and I experienced my first HBCU homecoming, something I will never forget.

C/O 2010

Major: Journalism & Mass Communications

Visit His Website: www.DexterMullins.com

Personal Contacts:

 

How did you decide to become a student at North Carolina A&T State University?

My junior year in high school, I went on a black college tour in North Carolina. After seeing that there actually was a place in the world where I wasn’t the only black male in a classroom with a brain, I immediately decided that I wanted to apply to HBCUs. A&T stood out to me because of the beauty of the campus, the programs, and the people. When I got back to California, I did more research and discovered the history of the institution and the legacies so many of the alumni have left behind, and I was sold.

What professors at North Carolina A&T 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?

I would definitely say that Emily Harris, Teresa Styles, and DeWayne Wickham have been some of the most influential professors in my life, although every professor I had at A&T impacted me in different ways. They all genuinely care about the learning of the students, not just a pay check or filling quotas.

I’ve never been pushed so hard, challenged as much, or encouraged to succeed as I was with them. I credit my success and my acceptance into Columbia University to the “tough love” and motivation they gave me. It’s rare that black students are accepted by mainstream American Universities as equal, and especially at Ivy League institutions. If it wasn’t for the consistent encouragement and challenging from these people, I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. They mean everything to me. I still call, e-mail, or work with them to this day.

What is the story of your “experience” to date at Your HBCU given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious institution?

My experience at A&T is unique. I tell everyone that college is exactly what you make of it, no matter where you go and if you want to give your university 100 percent, it will give itself unto you. I came to A&T and immediately felt as if a friend had taken me in. A lot of times, I think people go to college based on what they think the name of the school will do for them, without actually thinking about how little the school may care. What’s the point in going to a Yale or a Harvard if the professors will never actually learn your name, and you won’t have any resources to turn to if you are in a tough spot?

Because of how great my university made me feel, I felt the responsibility to get involved, give back and help to further the legacy of my institution. I didn’t even know all of the civil rights history of A&T until I actually started attending. From the beginning of my experience in August of 2006, to graduation on May 8, 2010, I was cultivated and groomed into the person I am. I got in touch with my heritage, gained a new appreciation for my black history and black culture, and lobbied for the rights of my people. I think every black student should go to an HBCU, so they can truly grow. I had the choice to go to 15 other institutions, but I chose to go to A&T and I’ve never regretted that decision.

But no matter who you talk to here on campus, there is no experience like Aggie Homecoming {Greatest Homecoming on Earth}. It feels like the entire east coast rides into Greensboro for the week. Nothing but memories to last you a lifetime.

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

Haha, this is a funny question. People really don’t do a lot of “cuddling” in public, so I guess the best way to answer this would be to talk about good places to go on a date. A lot of good spots could be found in the downtown area, like at Cheesecake’s By Alex, or Center City Park for example. These were always nice places to go that weren’t so crowded. As far as cuddling…

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

Cheesecakes By Alex and Minj Grille are without question two of the best places to go in Greensboro. Cheesecakes is the best place to go for a late night coffee/dessert, or just a nice treat with someone. Minj has some of the best chicken wings in the city, and they’re huge! Also, on Tuesday and Thursday they sell the wings for a dollar.

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

The most popular chant will always be Aggie Pride! But you have to say it right. There’s a significant voice inflection right in the middle, like this: AgGIE Pride! Other than that, most any chant the crowd starts everyone will know. Every year there would be new ones from the band or the spirit groups. The cheerleaders also had a lot of good ones.

Who was your College crush?

Haha I had a huge crush on my friend Jennifer Hill for a long time. But as we got closer it was clear that we had way too much fun together to ever really mess it up with a relationship. Besides, I was dating on and off with other people throughout the four years. We’re still friends to this day and I’m glad it worked out the way it did.

How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

A&T does an absolutely amazing job of making people feel welcome through their Office of Orientation and First Year Experience. By the time I left orientation, I had met friends (see Jennifer from previous question), handled most of my pre-college business, learned how to navigate the emphamis HBCU bureaucracy, and found my way around. When school started I wasn’t worried about a thing.

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

I majored in Journalism and Mass Communications, because I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was 14. I found an HBCU with a fully accredited program, a great legacy and good people. It was a no brainer.

What was been your proudest moment @ North Carolina A&T State University?

My proudest moment, oh wow. There are so many it’s hard to pick just one. I would have to say that it would have to be the day a new student came up to me and told me that I was the reason he decided to come to North Carolina A&T. My freshman year I decided I wanted to get involved and I immediately volunteered to be a tour guide. Since freshman couldn’t be paid first semester, I said I would do it for free because of my love for A&T. I became one of the most requested tour guides and I led some of the largest groups, sometimes 3 or 4 times a day. This one young man came to A&T during his spring break with his classmates and told me he was having a bit of trouble in school. I just told him that he had to believe in himself and refocus his priorities. Then I told him about how involved I was at A&T and all the opportunities I had been blessed with because of A&T. So when he came to speak to me, it was three years later and I was so proud of him. Not only had he managed to graduate with honors from high school, but he was also on track to finish his first semester with a 4.0. Seeing that I had a direct impact on someone was just amazing.

What was your saddest moment @ North Carolina A&T State University?

My saddest moment would definitely be when Dennis Hayle, a student and friend, was killed. To this day we still do not know what happened exactly, but there are people who do know and aren’t saying anything, which makes it even worse. You could ask anyone on campus or affiliated with A&T this same question and I would be willing to bet they would say the exact same thing.

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

I didn’t pledge for a few reasons. I certainly wanted to, but I just didn’t think I was ready the first time. I also found myself more and more involved with various organizations on campus, which yielded me a lot of responsibility and political clout/power on campus. I took my rolls seriously and it just didn’t seem fair to the people I represented to use my positions to serve only myself. I don’t regret not pledging, although I do think it would have been nice.

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

I definitely was. I was freshman class president and during my term our class pushed through more legislation and made more change on the fabric of campus as a class than any other before us. One such example would be our successful implementation of a small $5 yearly fee to all students that gave them completely unlimited access to every bus in the city and linked A&T with the Higher Education Area Transit, or HEAT, system. HEAT was a bus service that connected the 6 colleges in Greensboro and offered late night service for students thoroughout the city. The service picked students up from their apartments, the mall, or other places and took them all over the city. It also connected students to the main system and the service still runs. I also helped to hand design some of the routes.

I was also Editor in Chief of the yearbook, The Ayantee for 3 years. When I came to the yearbook office my freshman year in 2006, the school was still working on the yearbook from 2005. By the time I left the yearbook office in 2009, I had produced four yearbooks including the one from before I came. I also had completely restructured the way the books were laid out, and modernized the design.

From 2006-2009 I served as a senior delegate to the University of North Carolina Association of Student Governments on behalf of A&T. I was a committee chair for the government operations and community service division. During my time, I would have to say that I’m most proud of the legislation I pushed through for students across the entire state of North Carolina, including the Get Out The Vote funding of $2000 per campus for voter registration, the revival of Service North Carolina – a month long community service effort, and giving out the Eve Marie Carson award.

I was also a Resident Assistant. During my one year as an RA, I helped to lead a strike that helped to get the RA’s fairly compensated and correct policy problems in the way they were treated.

I’m most proud of my time as Editor in Chief of The A&T Register, the award-winning student newspaper of North Carolina A&T. My year as editor, we won 14 awards, including coming in as the second most influential student newspaper in North Carolina, and the second most influential HBCU newspaper nationwide. While winning the #2 spot may not seem like a great thing, I was proud of them because it felt like first and we were up against some really huge papers, like The Daily Tar Heel from UNC, the top rated student newspaper in the nation. To come in directly behind them was great. We also won first place for best investigative news, best design, and cemented our position as one of the top three student newspapers in the area of commentary and opinion. That was the most awards we had ever won in a single year. I also managed to nearly triple our online readership, and our circulation of 5000 print on campus went from sitting on newsstands for three days to being gone in nearly three hours. We also had unrivaled coverage of the historical opening of the Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, where the A&T Four started the sit-in movement at the Woolworth’s. We even got a letter from President Obama to include in our special 12-page tab of coverage. As a journalist, I was proud, and as a student, I was proud of the success of my student paper. It was one of my proudest years.

Where was the “yard” located?

The yard was behind the student union on election day, on the “strip” during the warm days of spring, and near the greek plots and the Holland Bowl.

What and where were the historical places on campus?

The entire campus is historical, but specifically, the Aggie Village memorial fountain in the middle of campus is extremely special. It is here that the old Scott Hall used to stand as the largest dormitory in the south, and it is also the site of the famous riot between A&T students and the national guard that resulted in the death of Willie Grimes in the 1960s. Grimes has a memorial behind the student union, and there are two monuments to the A&T Four, one behind the union, and one huge statue by the Dudley Memorial Building-The first building on A&T’s campus that burned down in a fire and was rebuilt. The Dudley building houses over 1 million worth of African art. There are so many more places.

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

No.

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.)


Haha, I won’t answer that “first love” question. I have to keep some things to myself. But I definitely had many firsts at A&T. I had some of my best jobs while in school, I met my best friends, I took my first roadtrip, and I experienced my first HBCU homecoming, something I will never forget.

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


This question doesn’t really make a lot of sense…

I think what you’re asking is what I would say to those I look up to in my family who have succeeded before me. I guess all I could say would be thank you, and that I really admire them.

When and how did you discover your passion in life?


When I started high school, I took a beginning journalism course. My teacher Mr. Pete LeBlanc, told us that journalists have the power to change the world. After that, I was hooked.

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

This can best be described in a quote:

To find what you seek in the road of life, the best proverb of all is that which says: “Leave no stone unturned.” – Edward Bulwer Lytton

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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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