An open letter to Robert F Smith
As a young black man and a future Morehouse graduate, I will eternally be grateful to what you’ve done. The relief you’ve given to these young men could prepare them for success for the rest of their lives. Often times one doesn’t appreciate the work that has to go into leading a successful life. The stones that must be laid for a perfect foundation. So before anything I’d just like to say from the bottom of my heart: thank you. Those young men deserve every penny and a fresh start. YOU provided it for them!
However, I think at this time we forget a group of students whom through circumstance aren’t allowed to share in this bounty. Dual Degree Engineering Students, or DDEP. When we entered Morehouse, we were told that we would spend 3 years matriculating through Morehouse, and then another 2 through an engineering school program. The unfortunate truth is that we weren’t told that we would be disallowed from graduating or receiving our degrees until after completing both portions of the program. Here I stand amongst other brothers in STEM who aren’t allowed to prosper with the rest of our brothers in the graduating class of 2019 because of a crack in the system. We are the ones who fell through that crack, and unfortunately I fear that there will be no providence for us. All too often engineers, especially black engineers, are a victim of the same phenomenon. This seems to be another case of that. I know this wasn’t intentional.
I beseech you, Mr. Smith. You are a personal hero of mine, as your investment firm follows the threads of tomorrow. You invest in technology and science. In effect, you invest in us, the engineers. I’m in awe of your success and full heart and hope to emulate it if I am ever in such a position. Again, I beseech you on behalf of the brothers and sisters left behind in the Dual Degree Engineering Program to consider us as well when eliminating the debt of the graduating class of 2019. For we were disallowed from graduating and have to incur additional debt from a second phase of engineering school before we can even touch our degrees from either institution. Your contribution to us would be of paramount importance. Your words inspired me when you said that your story would only be possible in America. And I whole heartedly agree that it is incumbent on all of us to pay this inheritance forward. Please help us, the DDEP students, to be in a position to pay it forward to all future generations through science, discovery, and invention.