SU graduates told never let failure stand in the way

Southern University’s 2013 spring graduating class was reminded Friday that perseverance is what brought them to graduation day and what will continue their success in the future.


Bernette J. Johnson, the first African-American Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, spoke to the more than 600 graduates saying this was only the end to one stage of their studies.


“You are successes because of your perseverance in your studies,” Johnson the graduates and 5,000 more family and friends in the F. G. Clark Activity Center.


She urged the grads to “Dream big on your path to success starting with this day.”


She repeated poet Maya Angelou’s, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it” and Winston Churchill’s “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm,” as motivation to not allow failure to get in the way.


Johnson also used the example of James Cash Penney and his struggle starting the JCPenney department stores.“It went bankrupt five times before it became the huge department store it is now,” said Johnson.


To be successful, she said, “it takes patience, commitment and failure.” She closed by encouraging the graduates to use their degree, talent and resources as a key to make a difference. It is the key to open doors for many more opportunities. 


Biology major, Messan D. Folivi earned the chief student marshal honor for the spring 2013 graduating class with his cumulative 3.93 grade point average, the highest among his fellow spring graduates.


Folivi is set to attend Meharry Medical School, in Nashville, Tenn., in the fall of 2013 to work on a Masters of Health Sciences combined with a duel doctoral degree, with a possible specialization in cardiology.


“I feel it is a big accomplishment for me, coming from another country and learning a new language,” Folivi said about earning the top grad spot. “It is an honor not just for the College of Sciences but for Southern University as a whole.”


The 22-year-old, a native of Togo, West Africa, moved to the United States to live with his uncle when he was 17 years old and to continue his studies in pursuit of a career in medicine. He graduated Cum Laude in 2009 from Robert E. Lee High School in Baton Rouge and joined the Jaguar Nation that fall.


Into his second semester Folivi joined the Louis Stokes-Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation, the Timbuktu Academy and Beta Kappa Chi National Honor Society. Scholarships earned through those organizations helped pay for his tuition along the way.


While at Southern, Folivi worked for a year as a medical scribe for the Professional Emergency Physicians Association at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. As a scribe he assisted the patients and reported their status to the physicians.


One of Folivi’s goals is to serve the global community through the practice of medicine.  This past year he helped establish the USA organization committee team for the E-Learning and E-Santé Conference in Senegal in November of 2012. That group set up a global professional network of E-Learning and E-Health in 37 countries. The two concepts introduced electronics and communication technology in education and the health sector.

Click here to view photos from the 2013 Spring Commencement Ceremony.


This website uses cookies to ensure site visitors get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies and Privacy Statement. To find out more, please visit Southern University's Privacy Statement.

I agree