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Graduate Leader’s Welcome Letter

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Whitaker

Greetings Bison,

With reverence and gratitude, I welcome both our new and returning graduate students to the
Mecca, as the 2021-2022 President of the Graduate Student Council. For our new students, you
may ask why the Mecca? The Mecca is Toni and Kwame, Patricia and Thurgood, Roberta and
Elijah, Zora and Ossie, and so many more. At the Mecca, we are connected by an invisible
thread that allows us to dream the unimaginable and achieve the unfathomable. Howard is our
Mecca with a mission statement that focuses on graduate and professional students with high
academic potential, emphasizing Black students. The Mecca’s core values involve driving
change and engaging in scholarship to solve global problems, particularly ones impacting the
African Diaspora.

Our mission is clear, and our purpose is defined. The Graduate Student Council (GSC) is a
vehicle for all students within the Graduate School to have concerns addressed by faculty and
administration, disseminate helpful and relevant communications, and conduct programs
beneficial to graduate students. The retention of Black graduate students is a significant focus of
the GSC. We are seeking to leverage the collective brilliance amongst the GSC with the

unparalleled concentration of impressive Black intellectual capabilities to identify solutions
during the 2021-2022 school year for issues that continue to plague the African Diaspora.
The GSC leadership team is committed to programming based on Howard’s mission and core
values. However, the support of individual graduate students within the Graduate School will be
critical for accomplishing change. Complaints must evolve into solutions that improve the
conditions of our communities. Solutions should lead to increased levels of engagement by
graduate students to shape the GSC into an organization that enhances the lives of graduate
students in more powerful ways.

The GSC General Body Meetings are being planned with professional development
opportunities. Your presence will help us assess whether the developmental programs are
adequate and whether to redirect our resources. The GSC study halls and writing sessions with
a Curriculum Vitae (CV) component can support your academic success and provide study
support groups if you incorporate them into your calendar. Funding opportunities are available
through the GSC for graduate students to attend conferences for professional growth.
Partnerships allow for the expansion of the GSC footprint for community service and advocacy.
The GSC would like your assistance with brainstorming sessions for alternative funding sources
for graduate students. Our networking and social events are intended to prevent isolation and
encourage wellness.

I am overjoyed that you are contributing to the tremendous Howard legacy. I hope that your
accomplishments will one day be highlighted on the world stage.

In Truth and Service,
Jessica Whitaker


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