- My Degree Is Black
Myron Clark | Alabama A&M | '08
Welcome to the MDIB Yard Myron Clark!
Reppin': Alabama A&M University
Occupation: HS Assistant Principal | Educational Consultant
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.
I was born and raised in the Whitehaven community of Memphis, Tennesee. Memphis is home to the Southern Heritage Classic and it was there that I was first able to experience HBCU life prior to graduating high school. Both of my parents were HBCU graduates and were well-known in our community as a successful educator and businessman. My father was a baseball player and business major at Stillman College and my mother was an education major at Tuskegee University. By the time I was in the 9th grade, it was expected that I would be getting a scholarship to play division 1 baseball on the next level. What wasn't as obvious and much less talked about was that I also had the GPA and ACT score to be awarded an academic scholarship ship to most schools I had to choose from. After touring several PWI, I didn't find an environment that felt like home. I didn't get that Southern Heritage Classic feel that I'd grown to love and appreciate from my time attending those exciting games. It wasn't until I visited Alabama A&M University during football season and was given a tour by current members of the baseball team that I knew this was the place for me. My father played college baseball with the Head Coach at the time, Thomas Wesley(RIP). Coach Wesley was the first coach that took the trip to Memphis to see me workout and play. Coach Wesley made me feel like it was a privilege to meet me while other coaches made me feel like it was a pleasure for me to be associated with them. When Coach Wesley asked what I thought I'd major in and I proudly announced that I wanted to pursue a degree in mathematics, he responded in true deep south Alabama lingo with, "Boy, you must be one of them smart ones or something?" I ended up being awarded a full scholarship with half being academic and the other being athletic. The friends I made on that baseball team are still my most consistent and loved friends that I have today. I met my best friend, the Godfather of my children, and business partner while playing baseball at A&M. My wife and I met our freshmen year at Alabama A&M at an IHOP after a house party that we'd both attended thrown by a baseball graduate assistant coach. Alabama A&M has played a huge part in setting the stage for my life and has afforded me opportunities to impact lives as a leader in education and a coach on the baseball field. My degree in mathematics has put me in a rare category that has allowed my ability to provide for my wife and children to never waver.
How did your HBCU shape you and impact your understanding of Black Culture?
Because of Alabama A&M, I am a man of service to my community and a true testament to the AAMU motto, "Service is Sovereignty". This motto suggests power and nobility is returned to those who devote their lives freely to the service of others. I owe so much to the HBCU that helped shaped the powerful and noble life I lead. My high school was 100% black and I thought I understood black culture because of it. However, attending an HBCU allowed me to experience various geographical examples of black culture that I'd only seen on TV and in movies. There was a large number of students from Chicago, Atlanta, North Carolina, and Texas. I got a chance to all "shades" of black and began to understand how different we were yet how connected we were in the same experience.
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?
Alabama A&M is built on a big hill. "The Hill" had a way of humbling you and it is said that you aren't a true Bulldog until you fall somewhere on the hill. The campus is beautiful and at night lights up and can be seen in full from an aerial view from the mountain that overlooks the campus. The Quad is at the center of campus and hosts some of the most entertaining social events on campus. There is also a new and improved student wellness center that is a state of the art training and wellness facility open to all students.
What do you say to people who believe HBCUs are not as good as Predominantly White Institutions (PWI)?
To anyone who thinks this to be true, I let them know that you get out of education and campus life what you put into it. There are some very competitive fields out there and HBCU graduates are just as or more prepared for the work force upon graduation than students from PWIs. I have reviewed many resumes and made countless hires and majoriry of my best employess have come from HBCUs.
"MY WIFE AND I MET OUR FRESHMEN YEAR AT ALABAMA A&M AT AN IHOP AFTER A HOUSE PARTY THAT WE'D BOTH ATTENDED THROWN BY A BASEBALL GRADUATE ASSISTANT COACH. I MET MY BEST FRIEND, THE GODFATHER OF MY CHILDREN, AND BUSINESS PARTNER WHILE PLAYING BASEBALL AT A&M. "
Tell us what you wish everyone in the world knew about the HBCU experience.
I wish everyone knew that the professors at HBCUs are some of the greatest black minds in the country and who else better to receive education from than the intellects who know the struggles you will face in a world that expects our abilities to be less than. Who better to prepare you for the world that someone who understands your plight.
Tell us about your most memorable HBCU experiences. (Yes we in yo business, tell us about all of 'em!)
I remember all of the celebrities that visited campus at the beginning of their careers. Lil Duval, Trey Songz, B2K, and many others. I remember the Bare as You Dare parties that happened on campus and the theme doesn't express how impressive the women were in theri outfits. I remember throwing the biggest apartment party of campus at the legendary Club 3308 which was the apartment I lived in and passed down to the next class of party animal baseball players. I also remember a campus wide snowball fight that of course the baseball team won quite unfairly. I remember the fraternity parties that always brought the best out in the women on campus.
Was it like Hillman on "A Different World"?
Hillman with Facebook! Tech was on the rise and it was great to be able to reach people without meeting them in person.
As any alumni will tell you, HBCUs are nurturing environments. What person(s) during your HBCU experience deserves some flowers and recognition?
My Biology professor Mr. Henderson (RIP) and Coach Thomas Wesley(RIP).
How are you using what you learned from them in your everyday life?
I use mathematics everyday as a mathematics Instructional Coach. I learned to give my talent to others freely and to help grow others to create a more well rounded and functional people.
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?
I imagine HBCUs being the go to place for fields and having numerous well respected high quality HBCU alums in high places. Shout out VP Harris.