Being an “Image of Success” at Claflin University

By Mercy Chikowore (Special to Queen to Queen, Inc.)


Mercy Chikowore was a featured speaker at this year’s Images of Success panel discussion on the campus of Claflin University

When I tell people I attended Claflin University I’m often met with blank stares and confusion, especially when I tell them it’s an historically black college/ university (HBCU).

Claflin has one of the richest HBCU histories and has been ranked #1 for Best College Value by U.S. News and World Report, amongst other accolades. They also have the most loyal alumni, who always return to an endearing “welcome home.”

Well, I was asked to come home last week as a member of “Images of Success,” an alumni showcase where we speak to students about our experience at Claflin and how it impacted our lives and careers. I, along with doctors, pharmacists, therapists and teachers, shared my journey. I told the students how I made it to Claflin University after graduating from high school in Geneva, Switzerland. I told them about always wanting to be a journalist but that my path and my pockets realized that PR and Marketing were a better fit. I detailed my experience working with government and nonprofit agencies in Washington, DC and how I pursued my “side-hustle” of entertainment PR at night. I told them about my experience at Johns Hopkins University and how much fun I had writing my thesis.

The students, who were actually listening (shocker), asked questions about the difference between going to an HBCU and a Predominantly White Institution (or PWI), how to manage one’s finances after college, and how to be an effective leader. After all this, I expressed the importance of time management [as a recovering procrastinator] and the importance of loving what you do.

I had a great experience at “Images of Success” and I already received some emails from students asking for help and guidance. If this is what it means to be successful then I like it- a lot!

Mercy Chikowore is an alum of Claflin University, member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., freelance writer and entertainment PR practitioner. She is also the Communications Director for the Washington, DC chapter of ColorComm Network.