Today: Apr 23, 2024

Stanley Battle honored by the NAACP

photo courtesy southernct.eduDuring his 14 months at Southern, Interim President Dr. Stanley Battle has led a number of initiatives earning him recognition as one of the 100 most influential blacks in Connecticut by the NAACP; he will be honored at a banquet in Hartford on Dec. 10.

Battle said he is humbled to receive such an award and to know that his peers think so highly of him.

“You don’t ask for it; it’s really humbling,” said Battle. “First of all, it’s for the whole state, that’s pretty strong recognition and then it’s indicative of you as a leader. And of course we all want to be leaders but you’re not looking for a pat on the back.”

Battle said Southern is active in the community and he believes it’s the combined effort of everyone on campus helping out that earned him this award.

“It was the work that we’re doing here obviously on campus, it’s a very strong ‘we’ effort,” said Battle. “Southern has always been engaged in this community.”

One of the ways Battle said he has been involved in the community was by adopting a kindergarten class from King Robinson School.

“I personally get more out of working with children,” said Battle, “than they probably get out of me.”

While working with the kindergartners, Battle helped with reading and said the children were all at different levels, which made it a challenge forcing him to adjust to the skill level of each child. Battle said the basketball team also took an initiative to help.

“I looked around, the basketball team was over there mentoring children last year,” said Battle. “That was great. I didn’t ask them, they were there.”

Battle said this is just one demonstration of how the campus has gotten involved, truly exemplifying that it’s a “we” effort.

“I believe we cranked it up and we have to be cognoscente of really what’s going on out there,” said Battle. “It’s amazing what you can learn from a first grader.”

Battle said he feels Southern is the heart and soul of the community and that should be carried as a “badge of courage,” and no one should hide from the fact that Southern is a public institution.

“We have students they’re from blue collar to white collar. They’re first generation and beyond,” said Battle. “We have some students here who are very fortunate, very blessed and we have other students here, they’re putting it together with chewing gum, tobacco and spit.”

Battle said he thinks people are starting to understand the efforts of the campus and receiving this award is a reflection of that.

According to Southern’s website, during Battle’s time here he has collaborated with Bill Cosby to help narrow the achievement gap, Southern has received its largest science research grant, been named host site for Connecticut’s first ever center devoted to nanotechnology, obtained $3.8 million to finish construction on the School of Business and re-allocated $16 million to complete renovations to the library.

“Dr. Battle has been a champion of the School of Business since his arrival on campus,” said Ellen D. Durnin, dean of the School of Business, “When we voted unanimously to stay in Seabury Hall and seek the additional funding for the new building, he advocated for the funds with the system office and with our legislators. Our faculty, staff and students appreciate Dr. Battle’s leadership and support, and we congratulate him on this recent award.”

Battle has also been involved with the Southern Academy, which according to the Southern website is an instructional program designed to improve literacy in which a group of about 25 local fourth graders spent their summer on Southerns campus.

“It was Dr. Battle’s desire to have an impact on children at a much earlier age,” said James Barber, director of Student Supportive Services and co-coordinator of the academy. “So, as he and I talked about it, one of the things that he thought was very important was to really have a strong literacy program during the summer.”

Marvis Brown, director of Connecticut Collegiate Awareness and Preparation Program and Co-Coordinator of the Southern Academy has worked with Battle as a part of the academy and said she’s been at Southern since 1984 and said Battle stands out as a leader.

“He’s really hands on into the community,” said Brown. “Not that the other presidents weren’t, but he’s really hands on into the community right in Southern’s area neighborhood.”

Brown said Battle’s hands-on approach was what first got her attention.

“One thing that caught my eye about him,” said Brown, “was that he had a picnic for the faculty and staff. He included everyone: first shift, second shift, and third shift and that no one was excluded.”

Battle said it is one of his missions to be as accessible as he can. In order to do this, Battle said he instituted office hours for the whole campus community and meets with an advisory committee of students. The next advisory committee meeting will be held on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. in the Adanti Student Center Theatre for students interested in discussing current university issues or concerns.

Battle said that although he enjoys being around students it wasn’t in his master plan to become President.

“I have very strong faith. Always have and always will. Two things I die for, one is my faith the other is my family. That’s all I got,” said Battle. “From there you just work. If you’re going to do something that’s positive, it’s going to influence others, they’re going to see it. If not, keep moving, somebody will buy it.”

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