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  • My Degree Is Black

Justin Dorsey | Texas Southern | '11

Welcome to the MDIB Yard Justin Dorsey!

Reppin': Texas Southern University

Grad: 2011, 2013

Major: Human Performance (EC-12), Educational Administration

Occupation: Certified Teacher | Coach

Can you briefly walk us through your HBCU story? How it started, how you got there, and how it helped you get to where you are today.

My journey to Texas Southern University was very unique. I always knew I wanted to attend an Historically Black College & University close to Houston and originally thought it would have been at Prairie View A&M, but I discovered Texas Southern the spring semester of my senior year. The first time I stepped on the campus of Texas Southern University in 2005, "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls was blasting across "The Yard". I knew right then and there, this was my new home away from home. It definitely was an unforgettable environment that I could see myself in for the next 4 to 5 years.

The day of my high school awards banquet, I received my letter from TSU stating the amount of scholarships offered for academics and musicianship. With all the scholarship money offered to me, it was confirmed that I was going to be a TSU Tiger. Being accepted to the Thomas Freeman Honors Program and the Ocean of Soul Marching Band at Texas Southern, was a blessing. Everyone loves the band at an HBCU. The Ocean of Soul Marching Band was the highlight of my college career and the spirit of the university. I also had the opportunity to become a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc. in 2007.

During my tenure at Texas Southern University, I was heavily involved as a student leader. I participated in the University Program Council (UPC) and held several officer positions such as publicity co-chair, community service chair, travel chair, and vice president. I also became a Community Assistant (CA) for the University Courtyard Apartments 2007 until 2009. I worked in the University Rec Center and was an athletic trainer for the football and basketball teams. After graduating with my bachelor's, I returned back to Texas Southern to obtain my master's in Educational Administration in 2013. While obtaining my master's, I became a member of the Galveston Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. I am a life member in the Texas Southern University National Alumni Association, where I currently hold Vice President of Finance in the Ocean of Soul Alumni Chapter. I am also a general member in the Texas Southern Young Alumni Chapter and former past president of the chapter.

How did your HBCU shape you and impact your understanding of Black Culture?

My HBCU, Texas Southern University has well-prepared me to face and conquer any adversity that is presented to me. Being a Black person in today's society is not easy, and being a Black male is even harder, but our HBCUs do a great job of making sure we graduate confident, knowledgeable, and ready to take on any obstacle in the world. The culture that our HBCU teaches us cannot be found at any PWI, because being around Black excellence daily is self-motivation and self-worth!

Before we go any further, let's have a brag session! Tell us about your HBCU(s). What are y'all known for? What are the most exciting things about the yard?

My HBCU is the dope! I say, "TS, TS, TS, TS, U, U, U... I Thought You Knew!" I just had to get that out before I go any further. Texas Southern University is home of the Tigers and is one of the nation's largest historically black colleges and universities. TSU is known for producing successful black pharmacist, lawyers, judges, congressmen, pilots, businessmen, teachers, and principals around the surrounding area and the world. Our motto at The Texas Southern University is "Excellence In Achievement" which means we strive to be excellent in whatever we do. Our prestigious institution is located in the heart of Houston (The Historic 3rd Ward, Texas to be exact) where there are many opportunities and possibilities to be great. The "Tiger Walk" is known to be a fashion show, so word to the wise; do not step out of the dorms looking crazy and tacky.

What do you say to people who believe HBCUs are not as good as Predominantly White Institutions (PWI)?

People who think PWI's are better than HBCU's are clueless, in my opinion. I am a firm believer that I received the same education, if not better, as some of my friends who have attended a Predominantly White Institution. I have always believed you have to sell yourself in any interview no matter where you obtain your degree, so may the best candidate win.


Tell us what you wish everyone in the world knew about the HBCU experience.

The HBCU experience cannot be recreated or imitated. If you know, then you know that the culture is PRICELESS!

Tell us about your most memorable HBCU experiences. (Yes we in yo business, tell us about all of 'em!)

My most memorable moments at Texas Southern University were the fun bus trips that the University Program Council (UPC) hosted to various out of town football and basketball games. Listen, if you never rode the fun bus while attending TSU from 2005 until 2009, then you missed out on an incredible HBCU experience as an undergrad student. It was a party from the time we departed "The Yard" early Friday morning until the time we returned back on campus late Sunday night. Honestly, this is how I met most of my life-long friends to this day at Texas Southern University.

Was it like Hillman on "A Different World"?

Funny thing is, Texas Southern and Hillman both have the same school colors of maroon and gray. I think the show "A Different World" can definitely describe Texas Southern University in a nutshell. Coming from Texarkana to the big city (Houston), I had some adjusting to do. For me, it was learning the Do's and Don'ts for "The Yard". Hanging out in the student center from 12pm-2pm was the thing to do, so we knew not to schedule classes around that timeframe on a Wednesday's and Friday's. During that time, Energizer Tha DJ and DJ C-Styles would have "The Yard" jumping and it became a big daytime party on the "Tiger Walk".

As any alumni will tell you, HBCUs are nurturing environments. What person(s) during your HBCU experience deserves some flowers and recognition?

There are so many people at Texas Southern University that I can give flowers of recognition to, because they have all played a key role in my college journey of completion. A few people off the top of my head that I would like to recognize are Mr. Daniel Harris, Mr. Shannon Broussard, Dr. Cherry Gooden, Dr. Kenyatta Cavil, and Dr. Lacey Reynolds. All of these people made a positive impact in my success at Texas Southern University. With their wealth of knowledge and expertise, I am now able to utilize what they taught me in class and apply it to my everyday life.

How are you using what you learned from them in your everyday life?

The wealth of knowledge that I have gained from my advisors and professors at Texas Southern has helped me to better understand my skills as an educator, leader, and professional. Also, I am able to apply these skills effectively to my everyday life.

Thank you for showing us Your Yard and telling us Your Experience. Before you go, tell us, what do you imagine for the future of HBCUs?

The future of Historically Black College & Universities in the next 5-years is looking bright. I see federal funding from the state legislation improving around the country while student enrollment continues to increase across the HBCU spectrum. I also feel like high quality athletes along with celebrity's kids will continue to seek HBCUs to further their education and play sports. It is very important that we push for our Black kids to attend HBCUs, so that we can continue the legacies and rich traditions of our ancestors. "I support HBCUs!"

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