This semester in my lectures for the College Success course I teach, I presented a new story to inspire the students in their college struggle. It came from the book, From Failure To Promise: An Uncommon Path To Professoriate. It is the life story of Dr. C. Moorer a business professor in the Chicago area. He also is President of Dr. C. Moorer & Associates. It is an organizational foundation that is guided by the thoughts behind this quote -- "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' " Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They offer students and educators scholarships and work on issues related to global poverty.
I shared Dr. Moorer’s story with my college students as it is a story of a young man with dreams of success interrupted by failure. Sad to say over the years I have seen failure derail college students from reaching their dreams. Some of them just give up and that mentality is the basis for much of the statistics concerning people who do not finish their college education. There are not too many people who move from high school to college and then on to business success without any periods of failure in their lives. All of us experience failure at some level. The key is what do we do when we fail? Do we just give up and spiral down into more difficulties or do we rise up and move forward?
Dr. Moorer shares how after high school he left for Engineering School with a dream to be an engineer. His background was that of a good Christian home with supportive parents. Educationally he went to a Magnet School in Detroit and he admits it was in a poor crime ridden area. In the story though the reader understands he had a strong Christian faith that bolstered him and that gratefully came from sincere Christian parents.
He had the passion for engineering and was even given an opportunity to intern at an auto company. Yet he states that he flunked out of GMI Engineering Institute after being placed on suspension. I have been on Suspension committees in the past so I know what he went through. He honestly shares what I have observed in a number of students over the time I have worked at colleges and a university. His public school education had not adequately prepared him for the rigors of an engineering education. There were concerns of his parent’s health as well that weighed on his mind during the semesters that added stress. There is also a statement in the text as he was going into his finals pictures well his fear of failure which is often a self-fulfilling prophecy no matter how hard the student studies in the end.
What was refreshing about his story is he is honest instead of trying to pass blame on a professor or the system. He could have blamed God as he mentions he was praying not to go on suspension. But he did not. That is a testimony of his parents’ faith and the depth of his personal Christian faith. He could have given up and simply went for a menial job or worse with bitterness gone into a spiraling down life of trouble. Of course from the book title we know he did not do that. With faith that God had more for him in life he moved forward. He started at a local community college to retake the courses he failed. This time he had much better success with his grades. He also captured a new passion of Business Management so had a shift in his career direction.
Educationally he finished a Bachelor degree and then moved into success in the Business world. He then finished a MBA degree in Organizational Management. Finally he finished a PhD in Business. By this time his career path had shifted to desiring to be a tenured professor in a Business school. He shares how this came to be as well in the book. When he reaches that point in his life he also begins to have this dream of acting on the quote listed at the beginning by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That dreams is where he presently is focused on helping build up young people who care about the people suffering around the world.
Who would have thought a College flunk –out could have a continual spiraling upwards story such as this? Dr. Moorer is a testimony that when faced with failure one does not need to stay in that state of mind and station in life. For him he kept dreaming and moving forward. The story shows the persistent hard work he put in to keep moving forward. At the same time another key to his success is his steady faith in his God that was a foundation to keep him moving in a positive direction. This is a story if you are an educator that should be shared with as many young people as possible. They need to be aware that failure will come but they need to be aware they can move from failure to success. It is also a powerful story to help anyone dealing with failure to encourage them to keep moving forward with renewed dedication and new dreams.
Reflection – Think over a failure in your past or maybe you are enduring a time of failure presently. What did you learn from the failure experience? How did it change your future? Also take note that Dr. Moorer’s story keeps growing with new dreams and advancements. Is there a new dream that you have that you would like to pursue?