by L.A. Warren
Educational expert and keynote speaker Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre delivered a rousing message in October during Jackson State University’s 139th Founders’ Day Convocation, challenging the audience to “start talking” proudly about the institution.
Butler-McIntyre, a former director of human resources for the Jefferson Parish School System in Harvey, La., told students inside the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center “we are preparing you for the world. … You have a responsibility that when you go out and do well to always remember J-S-U, spaces in between.” She reiterated that message throughout her speech by urging everyone to embrace their alma mater and determine whether their fingerprints exist somewhere at “J-S-U” – letters that she crystallized in everyone’s minds in a fluid, melodious fashion.
In general, the New Orleans native devoted her time explaining the importance of Jackson State and its renowned status as an institution of higher research. She cited the university’s seal as proof-positive of educational excellence and explained many aspects of its shining emblem. She said the insignia, which includes outspread torched-flame wings suggests a “quest for excellence,” a phrase that she says is more than just an act but a habit.
While perfection is never attainable, she said, “By chasing it “you’ll probably reach excellence.” She said JSU’s seal embodies greatness and reminded everyone that their transcript isn’t authentic unless they can feel its well-engineered design.
Butler-McIntyre is a staunch supporter of education and sees it as a lifelong process. Her career exemplifies her advocacy because she’s spent 30 years in Louisiana as a former kindergarten teacher, assistant principal, summer school principal and personnel administrator. Her sorority, the 300,000-member Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., for which she is a former national president, even named an elementary school in her honor in Cherette, Haiti.
Just as the Dillard alum is passionately devoted to her own university, she told the Jackson State crowd to always be “proud of who you are, where you are and your experiences at this great institution. … “It’s time to start talking about JSU,” Butler-McIntyre urged.
Citing John 8:32, she said by doing so, “we will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”