Congratulations President Haile: BC students welcome you!
Like most students who are new to higher education, I was very nervous when I began attending classes on the Broward College campus. I was no less shy later in my first semester when I was introduced to Gregory Haile at a general assembly hosted by Broward College’s Central Campus student government.
Even though he was the general counsel for Broward College at the time, Mr. Haile seemed like more than just an employee and certainly not what I had expected. He was warm, engaging and genuinely interested in what my student peers had to say. After our exchange, Mr. Haile gave me his business card and insisted that I contact him whenever I needed help.
Almost a year passed, I had become a student government president and I had not seen or spoken to Mr. Haile since. That’s when I ran into him again, this time at a meeting of the Broward College Foundation Board of Directors. Not only did he remember my name, he remembered who I was: Mr. Haile noticed that I was no longer wearing glasses.
That’s how I got to know Broward College’s new president. And now that he has been officially installed as Broward College’s seventh chief executive, I am equally thrilled that more of you will get to know President Haile, too.
I am happy that President Haile was selected to lead Broward College and I am equally impressed with what I have seen from him thus far. President Haile makes it a point to take time, unannounced, from his busy schedule to get to know students. Whether he is talking to us or taking pictures with us, President Haile is approachable. We do not need to go to him because he comes to us. He is the same way with faculty and staff.
President Haile encourages us to ask him anything we want, and I have. I know now that he grew up in a challenging neighborhood, where he didn’t learn about a college education until the sixth grade. I, too, didn’t grow up in the best of areas, an unincorporated section of Miami-Dade County. But both President Haile and I were not jaded by the experiences that surrounded us. He became a lawyer and now a college president, and I have become a college student with aspirations toward a career in biomedical engineering.
As an African-American woman, I am inspired by what President Haile has accomplished and what I can still achieve. We all face challenges, and I struggle to overcome feelings of self-doubt. But when I see President Haile and recognize the adversity he has conquered, I can’t help but believe there isn’t anything I can’t do. And he wants everyone to feel the same way, that education can transform lives in much the same manner it did his.
The more I learn of President Haile’s life, the more I realize how each of us, no matter whom we are or where we’ve come from, are positioned to leave a legacy with others that history will remember. President Haile is this type of “everyday” hero. As the first African-American president of Broward College, he is committed to giving back. I continue to be moved by Broward UP, an initiative of his that he started early in his tenure to identify sections of our community that are most in need of the services and financial resources to make the dream of a college education a reality.
President Haile wants to connect Broward College with those often-overlooked groups, and not just as a place to take classes. Rather, he believes our campus can be that second home, a place where we can work to improve ourselves and, at the same time, make our communities better.
I am proof that those broad ambitions can be realized. I will graduate in May from Broward College with my associate degree. Graduating is important to my family and I and President Haile knows as well as I do that it should be. I am convinced he will work hard to ensure that others, too, never get lost in the obstacles of life and will finish what they started.
A lot of people are counting on President Haile to do great things, but he deserves time in much the same way he has so willfully given it to shape my attitude and those of my classmates. We have connected to President Haile like we never anticipated. He has already proven to be here for us. On behalf of Broward College students, we will be here for him. Together we serve.
Mia Biggs is the 2018-2019 Student Government Association (SGA) President for Broward College’s A. Hugh Adams Central Campus, in Davie.
Editor’s Note: Broward College Board of Trustees installed Gregory Adam Haile as the seventh President of Broward College, at an investiture ceremony, in March 2019, on the A. Hugh Adams Central Campus in Davie.
Photo: BC’s President, Gregory Haile. Courtesy of Broward College.