About 150 members of the Wilson County alumni association of Tennessee State University gathered in Lebanon on Friday for the sixth-annual “Real Fathers, Real Men” fundraiser.
J.W. McGuire served as emcee and introduced the musical acts from the Alton Pickett family. Thomas Marks Jr., president of the Wilson County chapter, introduced keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. Harold Love Jr.
Love used Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If,” to make a relative point about the youth of today.
“There was a poet who penned wonderful words of encouragement from a mother to her son,” Love said. “It contained hope for a brighter future. In a similar fashion, Rudyard Kipling provided guidance for young men on how to deal with life from a father’s perspective.”
He read the words, “If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing their heads but blame it on you. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you but make allowance for their doubting. This is a word for young men and women who have problems with conflict. This is a word for young men and women who are dealing with issues in life.”
The event was the annual fundraiser for the alumni association, and alumni from neighboring counties also attended the gathering.
Emma Tapley-Stafford, founder of the alumni chapter, said the group has given eight $1,000 scholarships to Tennessee State University students. The “Real Fathers, Real Men,” event is the only fundraiser for the chapter.
Alumni sell ads in the program and make money from those who attend, either through donations or ticket sales.
Tapley-Stafford said the fundraiser is important for the children of Wilson County because, “My mother always instilled in us, ‘get an education. That’s something no one can take away from you.’ I always said if I graduated and became successful, I would return to my hometown and help the students who attend Tennessee State University.”
For more information about TSU alumni chapters, visit tnstate.edu.