a tribute from Dr. Nubra Elaine Floyd
When I first met Herman Blake in the late nineteen seventies, I was so caught up with meeting the demands of my doctoral program that I’d pretty much lost sight of my original career goals. Fortunately he was able to suggest something consistent with my deep longing for contact with other young people from underserved communities, who might need help finding pathways through the university. Most of my folks had married young and were still working hard to support families but tended to be pleased, when any of us showed a passion for learning. Since they couldn’t provide us with much in the way of educational guidance, my fondest hope was to be there for the ones who came next. In Spring of 1978, Dr. Blake asked me to help pilot a minority student mentorship program at UCSC’s Oakes College. We started with a few highly capable seniors assisting me on selected research projects and eventually expanded under the auspices of the Graduate Division to include as many as 20 or 30 undergraduates and a dozen or more faculty members. After completing a dissertation that dealt with college student development in 1983, I was offered the opportunity to create a similar program at Yale University, as part of a postdoctoral fellowship with Ed Gordon’s Center for Education, Culture, and Ethnicity (CRECE). these and other extensive student support efforts later informed and enriched my approach to teaching at UCSC, CSUMB, San Jose State and, most recently, as a Fulbright Fellow at Mt Meru University in East Africa.
Many thanks from Dr. Nubra Elaine Floyd to Dr. J. Herman Blake for helping me find the path with heart!