True Story: Rhonda E. Davis, a 60-year-old grandmother of 11 who resided in the dorms at Cheyney University, recently graduated from the Pennsylvania school as its valedictorian. As one Cheyney official put it, “She’s such an inspiration, not only to the students, but to all of us. The students follow her around like Mother Goose.”
The lesson to be learned here has not been lost on enrollment-challenged campuses around the country. They are now scrambling to recruit uplifting role models who might motivate potential students to attend their institutions. Three examples:
— Bismarck State College (North Dakota): In September 2019 the iconic crooners Michael Bublé and Josh Groban will begin their freshman year at Bismarck, majoring in Fine Arts. According to Daphne Permafrost, BSC’s Vice President for Enrollment Management, “too many high school seniors in our state are convinced that they must attend college in New York City or California in order to break into the music business. With Mr. Bublé and Mr. Groban on our campus, we hope that North Dakota teenagers who awaken at 4:30 every morning to harvest baby Ski-Doo’s on their parents’ snowmobile farms in Osnabrock and Walhalla will think of us as they belt out tunes from The Great American Songbook in the barn. We expect the presence of these two gentlemen will also generate a spike in the number of middle-aged housewives who matriculate at BSC.”
— Oral Roberts University (Oklahoma): In January 2020 Jesus of Nazareth will enroll as a second-semester freshman, accompanied by 15 Advanced Placement credits in Religion and Theology. “Jesus is a natural for us,” says Dean of Admissions Hasgood Crell. “He’s well-known, super-inspirational, and never went to college. The competition to get him was fierce! Liberty University offered him Birkenstock sandals for eternity. Bob Jones University promised to let his Mom live in a furnished apartment on the edge of the campus; she and Joseph separated three years ago. But the Advanced Placement credits apparently did the trick. Jesus wants to graduate in three years. There aren’t many folks, or deities, who are keen on spending four years in Tulsa.”
Jesus will be majoring in Criminal Justice, which Crell says “is not surprising, given everything he went through with Pontius Pilate.”
— City College of New York (NYC): This summer, Country House, the thoroughbred racehorse who won the 2019 Kentucky Derby, will become a Special Student at City College. “It’s a stroke of genius,” claims CCNY Provost Charleston Cravat. “Our students are often uncertain of their ability to succeed in college, and feel that the odds are against them. Well, the odds of Country House winning the Derby were 65 to 1, and look what happened! Of course, he’ll need help with his writing skills at the beginning of the semester, so we’re building a stall for him right in the middle of our Center for Learning Resources and hired a Certified Horse Whisperer who’s also an English Composition tutor. Undergraduates are going to look at them working together and think, ‘if Country House can do this, so can I’!”
Rhonda Davis, what hath thou wrought?