Friday, June 18, 2010

Random Musings from the President


Whew. The last six weeks have been a whirlwind. The first week of May saw us unveil the Food for Good Farm at Paul Quinn College. FFG is a partnership between PQC and PepsiCo. It's an exciting project that has allowed us to transform our unused former football field into a two acre urban farm. The farm grows everything from watermelon to corn and beans. It's amazing. The food will be used to feed our students, our community and our city.

Next up, we held Commencement. This Commencement ceremony was particulary emotional because of all the naysayers who believed that Paul Quinn College would never last another year. Not only did we prove them wrong, we continue to grow stronger.

Last week, we recieved a $1,000,000 donation that will allow us to demolish the 13 abandoned buildings on the campus. These buildings have stood on the front of this campus reminding a city of the failings of HBCUs for over 20 years. Well, thanks to the confidence of Trammell S. Crow, we will begin tearing these structures down in July.
The Quinnite nation continues to march on towards our date with destiny. Next stop- the unveiling of the Bridge Program and the First Two Years Experience.
On to the next one,
President Sorrell

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Random Musings from the President

Greetings Quinnites:

Today is a landmark day in the annals of Quinnite history. It's so huge, I can't sleep. So, without any further delay, here's what has me up and out of bed at 3 am:

1. Our newly redesigned website is officially launched. Go to and check it out. It was designed by Narisha Johnson (go to and see who she is and what she does- other than design live websites). It is a ground-breaking website for higher education. You won't see very many college sites with the edge and attitude of the Quinnite site. It's befitting a school that is clearly headed in the right direction.

2. Today, at 1pm on the site of the old Tiger Football Field, Paul Quinn College and PepsiCo unveil the newly created "Food for Good Farm at Paul Quinn College". The Farm is the product of a joint venture between the College and one of the world's premium brands. The partnership is historic. The concept is revolutionary: instead of complaining about what others have not done or taking the easy way out and fleeing, PepsiCo and PQC are digging in and declaring that people simply deserve better and we're going to do something about it. The Farm is so many things and represents so much hope that instead of rambling on about it, I simply invite you out to see it for yourself.

3. Commencement takes place this Saturday at 5pm on the lawn of the Richard Allen Chapel. Our speaker is the legendary Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, Senior Pastor at Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas.

I'll be back shortly with pictures from today's ceremony.

Until then, I'm on to the next one,
President Sorrell

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Random Musings from the President

Greetings Quinnites:
As Spring is the time for new beginnings, please allow me to introduce our new logo. The new PQC website will debut in about a week. It is as dynamic and thought-provoking a website as you will find anywhere in higher education. When you pair the new logo/website with the new landscaping, you begin to understand why we are so optimistic about our future.
Here are this week's musings:
1. This Monday, May 3rd, Paul Quinn College will be the site for the 2nd Annual Evening of the Classics. This free event is sponsored by the City of Dallas, Council District 8 and the Dallas Symphony and is hosted by Paul Quinn College. It's an amazing evening and a wonderful way to bring the Arts out of downtown and into the City. The music begins at 7:00pm.
2. On Wednesday, May 5th, at noon, we will be unveiling our Urban Farm and announcing our partner in the venture. The event will be a ceremonial planting and a lot of fun. Everyone is welcome as long as they come prepared to plant.
3. Saturday, May 8th, Commencement exercises at PQC will take place. Our speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes, III, Senior Pastor, Friendship West Baptist Church and Trustee of Paul Quinn College. Commencement will begin promptly at 5:00 pm and will take place on the front lawn of the Richard Allen Chapel.
4. Congratulations to one of my all-time favorite Quinnites- Kenneth Boston, Class of 2009. Kenneth recently accepted a position with AAFES (the Army Air Force Exchange Service) and will begin with them on May 10th. Kenneth graduated from PQC with a 3.8 gpa and was the SGA President. He is an amazing father to his two sons and husband to his wife. He was the recipient of the very first "Quinnite of the Year" award and has been an exemplary employee of the College for the past year and a half. While we are sad to see him leave, we are incredibly proud of him as he enters the next stage of his life. Good luck Kenneth- keep making us proud.
Until the next one,
President Sorrell

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Random Musings from the President

Greetings Quinnites:

It's been another hectic week for the Quinnite Nation. We are rapidly approaching the end of the school year and I don't know if I've ever seen more construction activity on the campus. The best part is that it is simply the harbinger of things to come. If you are familiar with Gideon's story from the Bible, you'll understand how I can say that it really is a wonderful time to be a Quinnite.

Here are this week's musings:

1. The picture to the right is a sneak peak of our newly remodeled Tigers' Den (our student lounge). The picture on the wall is from the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. We are still installing the new primary television and the video game stations. We will hold those until late July/early August when the students return. For those of you keeping track, in the last two and a half years we've remodeled the following parts of our Student Union: A) the Cafeteria; B) the Fitness Center; C) the Student Affairs Offices; and D) the Tigers' Den.

2. Off the Bone BBQ in Forest Hills, TX is supposed to be the number one BBQ restaurant in the DFW area. Now, I will preface my following remarks with this piece of background information: my parents owned one of the best BBQ restaurants in Chicago when my sister and I were growing up. While the food was very good, what always made it stand out in my mind was the way that my parents were maniacal about customer service. Everyone was greeted with a smile and my parents would not dream of turning a paying customer away regardless of when they arrived. If the grill was on, we were open. I mention this because last night, a group of friends and I tried to patronize Off the Bone and were turned away. We were part of a five person party and the first members of the group arrived at 7:58. The rest of us arrived by 8:02. They refused to serve those of us who arrived at 8:02 (even though we explained that we were part of the same party). First of all, how does a BBQ restaurant close at 8:00 pm on a Friday night? Secondly, how do you turn away paying members of the same party? I guess Off the Bone doesn't need a $50+ plus order. Perhaps the next time D Magazine rates BBQ restaurants they should evaluate service as well.

3. Congratulations to PQC Trustee Erma Johnson Hadley, the Chancellor of the Tarrant County College District. Last night her daughter and son-in-law hosted an amazing event in Ft. Worth celebrating her ascension to the Chancellor's position at TCCD. Her accomplishment is historic on so many different levels. We are huge EJH fans at PQC. I encourage everyone to find out what we already know- there are few higher ed administrators better than our own Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley.

4. Phase II of the campus landscape re-design is in full swing. We are about to install the roses for the "Avenue of Roses" and plant the Live Oaks. For those of you who bought into the former look of the campus, you are about to be shocked. The grounds will be "nice" for graduation in two weeks. However, the campus will be "beautiful" come new student orientation this fall and "amazing" for Commencement 2011. We don't call it "Greatness . . . One step at a time" for no reason.

On to the next one,
President Sorrell

Friday, April 16, 2010

Random Thoughts from the Road

Greetings Quinnites:

I spent the majority of this week on the road driving through the states of Virginia and Mississippi. Both are beautiful, but very different states. Here are a few of this week's random thoughts from my time in transit:

1. Contrary to some of the things that I continue to hear and read, PQC remains fully accredited. I guess the confusion on this fact speaks to the complexity of the subject matter. I just wish folks would call or email me for clarification instead of spreading erroneous information (which only serves to hurt their credibility and unfairly damage my students).

2. Driving through the Mississippi Delta was a journey back in time for me. One part of my family is from Natchez, MS and as a boy, I rode through some of these towns with my grandparents to visit relatives. Even though it has been more than 30 years since I last made that trip in the back seat of my grandfather's car- today as I drove, I was taken back to being a ten year old boy fascinated by the sight of the farmland and the sound of the Blues.

3. I very much enjoyed my visit to Delta State. Very impressive campus and staff. Great facilities. It has to be considered one of the hidden gems in higher education.

4. I also enjoyed meeting my fraternity brothers (Kappa Alpha Psi) from Mississippi Valley State University during my impromptu visit to their campus. They may be from the new school, but their spirit is reminiscent of the days of yore. Keep achieving brothers.

5. It was a bit eerie to watch ESPN's documentary on Allen Iverson ("No Crossover") while in Hampton, VA. As I watched the young Iverson, I could not help but be saddened by what his life has become. I hope that there is time to avoid a tragic ending.

6. Good luck to the PQC Track & Field Team as they compete in the Red River Conference track meet tomorrow. I'm proud of your effort and your pride. You are true Quinnites.

Until next week,
President Sorrell

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Random Thoughts on Living in Southern Dallas


Just some random thoughts on life south of the Trinity River:

1) Why can't the City of Dallas figure out how to address the stray dog problem in the southern sector? Interestingly enough, for as much time as I've spent in northern Dallas, I don't ever recall seeing a stray dog. Perhaps all of the stray dogs in the northern part of the city are bused to the southern side of the Trinity River. The problem has become so overwhelming, and the animal control people so inept, that it is almost pointless calling them for help. Historically, it is in moments like these where a small cadre of citizen leaders often take matters into their own hands and solve the problems that the government cannot. I wonder what would happen if that cadre of citizen leaders in the southern sector started capturing stray dogs and dropping them off at the animal control shelters (or other municipal locations)? Would that finally bring some attention to this persistent and nagging problem? Or does a child have to be attacked and killed for anyone to care? As an expectant father, that notion sends chills down my spine.

2) It's comforting to know that Simpson Stuart Rd. is safe from the scores of speeding motorists that plague it. Too bad the other streets of the Highland Hills community aren't as safe from drug-trafficking, theft and burglary. I wish there was as much revenue in fighting those versions of crime as there is in curbing routine traffic violations. Maybe then we'd all feel safer at night.

3) Do you ever wonder why there's no police sub-station on the part of Simpson Stuart Rd. where there's actually the most crime?

4) If you would like to see a football field truly become a field of dreams, stop by PQC and witness the transformation of our football field into an urban farm. By mid-summer, our near two-acre plot will be producing more wins for the PQC/Highland Hills community than the football field ever did. If you really want to lift someone out of poverty- plant a garden, not a sports field. It's great if you can have both. But, if you can't, it's always better to choose sustainability over fleeting glory. Hunger pains have a way of staying with you long after the crowd leaves and the cheering ceases. At that point, it's simply you and the cold darkness of an empty cavern. No child deserves that feeling- ever.

5) A non- Southern Dallas thought- congratulations to my alma mater, Duke University, for winning the 2010 Men's Basketball NCAA National Championship. As thrilled as I am for the Blue Devils, I left truly impressed by Butler's brilliant young (33 years old) coach. He is special. I hope that Butler fans understand what they have.

Until the next time,
President Sorrell

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Did You Know?

Did you know that the Paul Quinn College campus is over 140 acres?

Did you also know that there is no reputable grocery store within five miles of the Highland Hills/Paul Quinn College community?

Furthermore, did you know that despite offering to donate the land to any major grocer who would build a store that would cater to the Highland Hills/Paul Quinn College community and our section of the southern sector, we got a grand total of 0 calls from grocers?

As Marvin Gaye used to say in "Inner City Blues"- "makes me want to holler and throw up both my hands".

On to the next one,
President Sorrell

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We're Back!!


It's good to see you once again on the blogosphere. So much has been happening since we last visited that it's impossible for me to go through everything. However, I did want to catch you up on some of the most recent highlights in the Quinnite Nation.

1. Our new First Year Experience Program is going to be unbelievable. It features courses tailored to the needs and interests of the student. You'll be shocked by the caliber of our new Writing Program and Speech Program. The new Bridge Program will get our students off to the best possible start in their college careers. The FYE debuts in August.

2. Lots of new staff hires. Here's just a few of the latest: Lori Price (Director of Writing Program); James "Zip" Summers (Athletic Director); Kelsel Thompson (Dean of Students); and Hope Young (VP of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs).

3. We revamped our Board of Trustees. Our new chair is Bob Weiss from the Meadows Foundation; new Finance Committee Chair Matt Hildreth (Pres. of Amegy Bank); and new Development Committee Chair Atty. Bill Brewer (Partner, Bickel & Brewer).

4. Upgraded the campus and facilities. Among the improvements that have taken place are the following: 1) remodeled the Tigers' Den (the student lounge); 2) renovated the PE classrooms; 3) installed a campus irrigation system, and 4) began phase II of the heat resistant foliage program.

5) We will knock down the first of a series of abandoned buildings scheduled for demolition on the campus this spring.

Things are moving at PQC. In fact, you should schedule a time to come see it for yourself.

Until next time,
President Sorrell