December 9, 2020

"Finish Strong"

We finally approach the close of the year 2020, a year that will forever be used as a demarcation, as in “that happened before 2020”, or “it happened after 2020”, or “Oh my goodness, that must have happened IN 2020.”  Undaunted we push on towards the mark.  That mark is completing not only one of the most challenging calendar years ever but also one of the most challenging academic semesters we have experienced.  And as we close in on the end, we must finish strong.


We must finish those professional projects, proposals, presentations, and promises.  We must also encourage and support our students to do the same as they complete this semester with its requisite finals, papers, and projects.  There’s a lot of work left to be done but, malaise and indifference can fool us into thinking that whatever it is doesn’t really matter.  But that’s where we are wrong.  It really does matter.  It matters to someone that you complete your tasks.  And I’m not talking about your supervisor, although their approval should be a part of your thinking.  It matters to you and certainly to someone else that you finish strong and complete the tasks at hand.

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Eleven years ago, my favorite football team, the New Orleans Saints, created a team mantra of “Finish Strong”.  This hapless franchise, had in its then 42-year history, lost way more games than it had won and it never had won a championship.  The previous season they finished with an 8-8 record, but in 2009 they were winning nearly every game and were the talk of the NFL.  They entered the playoffs with a 13-3 record, best in team history.  But they knew none of that would matter if they didn’t finish strong.  They had to complete all the remaining assignments, plays, practices, and workouts in order to achieve the elusive goal of a championship. And that they did by reaching the Super Bowl and winning despite being huge underdogs in the game. They had finished strong.

Finishing strong is worth it. While this year has constantly zapped our strength and sometimes our desire, we cannot let it take our will.  We are stronger than that.  We are better than that.  There are so many people counting on us.  So, we must complete the race, and then, and only then can we rest the baton. But only until the spring semester begins. During the break in-between, we can enjoy the much-needed time-off to unwind and recharge.  But until then, we must finish strong.

On behalf of the Board of AABHE, we wish each of you, our members a very safe and happy holidays.  We have indeed had the toughest of years but we nonetheless have so many reasons for which we should celebrate this holiday season.

Stay well, stay safe, stay COVID smart, and continue to do good work.


Celebrate KWANZAA’s Nguzu Saba Principles:

Umoja (Unity): maintaining unity as a family, community and race of people.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): defining, naming and creating and speaking for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): building and maintaining our community--solving problems together. 

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): building and maintaining retail stores and other businesses and to profit from these ventures.

Nia (Purpose): work collectively to build communities that will restore the greatness of African people.

Kuumba (Creativity): to find new, innovative ways to leave communities of African descent in more beautiful and beneficial ways than the community inherited.

Imani (Faith): the belief in God, family, heritage, leaders and others that will leave to the victory of Africans around the world.


Our 2021 AABHE Virtual Annual Conference will be held March 15-16th.  We will be delivering as much of our regular annual conference content as we can possibly deliver in an engaging virtual format.  Nikki Giovanni is confirmed as our keynote speaker.  Additionally, great speakers, panels, sessions, awards, and even social events are all being planned.  “See you” next March…   


“It’s all about the students”,

Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr
Dr. Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr.
President, AABHE