Monday, August 27, 2012

Underwood Award Lecture

Photo By Bradley J. Rayford / Forum

Above Center: Dean Ruby Curry gives speech as Underwood Award recipient.

By HOLLY SHANKS of the Forum

Allieze Ruby Curry, dean of Business and Human Development, stepped onto the stage and into the spotlight during the David L. Underwood lecture earlier this month. She revealed through self-reflections, the lessons learned from her 35 year career, the struggles and rewards of becoming a guardian of her nephew and her thoughts of the ever changing highway of education.
Florissant Valley Music Professor Paul Higdon performed classical piano pieces by Sergei Rachmaninov. Professor Chris Stephens introduced Curry by sharing with the audience her many encompassing accomplishments. Stephens also shared his memory of Curry being the first person to welcome him aboard as a newly hired full-time professor at FV.  
Annually, Florissant Valley honors the memory of Professor David L. Underwood who joined STLCC-FV in 1963, with a lecture named in his honor. He is remembered as “flexible, caring and supportive man for both staff and students.” Underwood’s dedication and commitment is embodied in an apparent theme that reoccurred in Curry’s speech, the idea that striving for each and every student and faculty’s well being and success is important.
Curry started her career with Florissant Valley in the fall of 1976 and has seen many changes and challenges.  “Life is a moment to moment experience that can’t be scripted,” she said. 
The former college field hockey standout and Professor of Physical Education, shared rewarding stories and some that had made her shed a few tears. Through it all Curry encouraged the audience to always strive for excellence in and out of the classroom.
Curry’s inspiring words resonated with the audience that filled the Terry M. Fisher Theatre.
“We must recognize cultural differences that our students and staff bring and use them as assets not problems to overcome,” she said.
Along with self-reflection and self-assessment, Curry challenged the audience to think about a few things. “What kind of campus are we making? What kind of campus should we be making and what kind of campus can we be?”
Curry left the stage the same way she stepped on to it, to a warm standing ovation of colleagues and friends.

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