Category Archives: Lyceum

Speaker Kevin Hines shares his story of suicide and second chances

Sarah Thurman, Staff Writer

On Thursday, February 22, Kevin Hines came to Wingate to give a lecture titled Cracked Not Broken, The Kevin Hines Story. Kevin Hines was only 19 when he decided that he wanted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate bridge.  This is a jump that 99% of people, do not live from. Kevin was in that 1% that lived.

The lecture began by showing a snippet of Kevin’s film titled ‘Suicide: The Ripple Effect.’ Kevin came on stage and introduced himself, then proceeded to explain how he was not there to just tell his story, he was here to inform us by using his story.

Telling a story of a suicide attempt can get very dark, yet when Kevin felt that the mood was shifting he would give a joke that would make the whole audience laugh. Once he saw that the audience was in fact laughing he would go back into the story.

During one of the darkest parts of the story, when Kevin is describing himself jumping off the bridge and into the water, he realized that he didn’t die and that there was a creature swimming around him. He said, “I remember thinking ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, I didn’t die off the Golden Gate bridge and now a shark is going to devour me. NO!” The audience mood instantly lightened at the joke.

He went back into describing how this creature was keeping his body afloat and taking him towards a boat. With no idea what was under him, he decided to name the creature “Herbert” and after he began to tell his story publicly, he was contacted and informed that the creature that was under him was a Sea Lion.

Suprisingly the story does not end there, he continues to recount the story of his recovery and how he has gotten to the point he’s at today. He tells of his time spent in psych wards, fixing his relationship with his father, and meeting his wife. He does not just outline the negative parts, but he dives into the positive ones as well.

He ended the lecture by telling the audience that even though he stands here to tell his story that he still struggles everyday with a mental illness, but “I’ve been given the gift of a second chance, and most people in that situation sadly never got to see.”  

Kevin then tied the lecture together with a simple statement and a joke, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that I believe is why we call it the present and if ya’ll don’t believe me Master Oogway from Kung Foo Panda said that.”

Left to Right- Nya Henderson, Kevin Hines, Aliyah Long. Photo credit: Sarah Thurman

After he finished, he asked the audience to stand and he pulled out his phone and asked us to scream “Be Here Tomorrow” as loud as possible.  After the event Kevin went into the lobby of the Batte Center and met with students. Many people approached him to inform him of the impact of his story and some even pulled him aside to talk privately. Counseling was also on duty if anyone felt the need to talk to someone during or after the event.

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone, Wingate University offers free confidential counseling to students, you can contact them at To learn more about Kevin’s story visit

Edited by: Brea Childs


John Pavlovitz speaks to Wingate campus about creating a bigger table

Rachael Robinson, Staff Writer

John Pavlovitz spoke to Wingate students, faculty and staff last Wednesday. Pavlovitz is a pastor, blogger and the author of the novel A Bigger Table. He spoke to the audience about expanding their horizons and opening up themselves to new people, with his theory of “creating a bigger table.”

Photo credit: Pavlovitz website

When Pavlovitz speaks of creating a bigger table, he has an image in his brain. The table in his parents’ home. He mentioned that his house “was just an expensive covering for the kitchen.”    

His family started spending time around the kitchen table. As their family and friends grew, they moved to the larger dining room table. He then remembers his father going to the garage and having he and his brothers help add wood to make the table even bigger

Expanding your personal “table” though takes practice. It must be built upon using the four foundations which he calls the legs. The foundations of radical hospitality, total authenticity, true diversity and agenda-free relationships.

Everyone should be welcome, regardless of whether their ideals match yours, no one should feel they need to be an edited version of themselves.  It should be a safe place for everyone and a place to just hear stories. You also can’t be afraid of people leaving your table. People might not fit and that’s okay.

Pavlovitz also spoke about activism. Activism doesn’t have to be standing on the side of a street holding a sign and yelling at individuals as they pass. “Activism is using your privilege to raise up others,” Pavlovitz explains. “Use whatever is at your disposal.”

You could end up on the street with a sign, but activism can be simple. Taking a stand during conversations with your extended family when you would normally walk out or posting comments on social media posts that you think are wrong is enough.Both he admits “may go horribly wrong,” but that’s the point. Activism can be costly and painful.

Pavlovitz grew up in New York. His family was behind him 100 percent and he felt the same way about God. He didn’t realize until he went to college in Philadelphia just how many “false” stories he had been told about the world. He realized that he felt that he was above the people who weren’t like him.

Philadelphia was full of new stories, he felt like a fish that had been thrown into a new aquarium too quickly. He was having all these experiences and felt like he was using new muscles. He realized he was beginning to care. His table was growing.  

A pivotal moment for Pavlovitz was when he was asked to replace the youth leader at the church he attended outside of Philadelphia. That is where he fell in love with preaching. When someone suggested getting paid, he figured he would give it a try. Pavlovitz and his wife would then move to Charlotte, where he would become the pastor of a mega Methodist Church.

During this period Pavlovitz began to have theological questions about the messages he was spreading. He realized that his table had gotten smaller again. He was always surrounded by people from the church. He also began to notice that the only people who were welcomed at the church were people who fit the mold. There were no “marginalized” people.

That’s when Pavolvitz started writing. He started his blog where he could write about these issues. “All I did was speak my truth and I got a bigger table” said Pavolvitz.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Tattered Pieces speaker addresses themes of loss, faith and forgiveness

Leah Joyner, Staff Writer

The Rev. Sharon Risher captured students’ attention with her raw emotion on Sunday morning, sharing how she became an accidental activist when she lost loved ones in the 2015 Charleston shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Risher, a native of Charlotte, N.C., spoke at a lyceum event at the Batte Center.  

“From the moment Rev. Risher started sharing her story, she evoked a spirit of passion that was astonishing. It was evident that she was unequivocally devoted to her beliefs,” said senior Tripp Wright.  

Risher described the struggle she went through finding out about the deaths of her mother, two cousins, and a childhood friend on that horrific night of June 17, 2015. Since the traumatic event, Risher has spoken up about gun laws in the nation and about her process of grieving and forgiving the shooter for his deed. Her touching testimony moved the audience to rethink ways in which to engage with people who look different from them and with the hope of bringing a positive change to the nation.

“Reverend Risher told her story as though it happened yesterday. She talked about being in the courtroom with her family’s murderer as though she had only just stepped out for a moment to tell you what was going on inside. While the terrible tragedy in Charleston did occur only two and a half years ago, she gave me a feeling that she would always tell her story like this. She would always relive that day with her heart on her sleeve, allowing herself to once again feel every feeling she felt the day her family was killed in hatred,” said freshman Karah Fleming.  

In her speech, Risher shared stories about her Christian faith getting her through the tough times in her life. Accompanied by her daughter, Aja, she admitted that it took a long time to forgive the shooter for what he did to her and her family, but she ultimately let go of her anger and gave it to the Lord.

“She didn’t try to tell us that her years of following God made her want to forgive right away. She had to wrestle with God about this time in her life,” Fleming commented. “Though I have yet to face something as difficult as what she was forced to face, her honesty about the battle she had to fight within herself to do God’s will was encouraging.”

 Risher has used her story to touch others on CNN, Time Magazine, BBC Radio and other media outlets. She has been a guest at the White House on several occasions when Barack Obama was president. A former hospital chaplain, Risher now spends her time as an activist and is writing a book.   

The Reverend’s conclusion to her speech sums up her purpose for speaking out to students and the public: “I didn’t ask for this journey I’m on. I would rather not be standing up here sharing this with you, but here I am. I hope you have heard one thing today that you didn’t know before. Something that will stir your heart to do something always for the betterment of yourself, so you can bring someone along who may not look like you or talk like you. We share this country and we must be the change we want to see.”

Edited by: Brea Childs

Pictured above: The Rev. Risher and daughter Aja Risher

Lyceum on sexual assault among college athletes leaves students confused

Gabby Cabrera, Staff Writer

In a lecture lyceum titled, Above the law: Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence in College Athletics, students were briefed about the prevalence of sexual assault in college athletics but many were left confused and disappointed, prompting university leaders to consider the need for more education.

“I thought it was confusing. All three seemed to have different opinions but tried to find a consensus,” said sophomore Marisa Ostoja about the Lyceum. “What I thought would be about sexual assault in sports, turned into a lesson about law.”

Students of Wingate University were left with more questions than answers as the panel, Athletics Director for Internal Operations  Dr. Renae Myles from Winthrop University, Director of Compliance Hank Harrawood from UNC-Charlotte and Coordinator of Sexual Trauma of Safe Alliance Dr. Norman Spencer, debated the issues surrounding sexual assault in college athletics. The organization Safe Alliance works with victims of domestic abuse and is based in Charlotte.

Dr. Dawn Norwood, the Director of Graudate Programs in the School of Sports Sciences at Wingate, said the panel discussion was originally established for the students of the master’s program but decided to open it up to all students by making it a Lyceum. However after the event, she said she is disappointed to know that many of the students were unaware of Title IX from the start.

“As a result of the panel discussion, I do see the need for all student body to be educated on Title IX by faculty and staff,” said Norwood.  “It’s our responsibility to make sure that students are informed and know where to go.”

During the event, Myles asked the audience if they knew where to go or what to do in case of an assault. A few students hesitantly replied, but none were sure.

Myles said it is important for students to know where and what resources are available in case an assault happens.

“You have somewhere to go,” said Myles. “Know where you should go.”

The panelists offered suggestions such as campus safety and contacting Title IX coordinator, Patrick Biggerstaff.

Norwood began the presentation with two videos. Both were network coverages of two sexual assault cases, one at Baylor University, and the other involving Brock Turner, a swimmer at Stanford University.

The Baylor case involves prosecutors claiming multiple former football players sexually assaulted women. A federal lawsuit claims university officials failed to respond sufficiently to the accusations.

The Brock Turner case convicted the former swimmer of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. The lawsuit drew national attention after the victim’s impact statement went viral and the judge sentenced Turner to only six months in jail.

Norwood used the videos as an example to highlight the important issue of sexual assault and domestic violence on college campuses. She said as many as one in five women and one in 16 men become victims of sexual assault while in college.

For many students at the Lyceum, those statistics combined with the high-profile examples were a riveting combination.

“Dr. Norwood’s opening had me hooked,” said junior Shelby Dworek. “The videos and introduction statement were perfect. That’s why I was so disappointed in the rest of the program.”

Dr. Norwood asked the panel numerous questions about defining the term “lack of consent” and acknowledging available resources for victims. The panel also discussed the removal of the 2011 Title IX “Dear Colleague” letter which added extra protection to victim complaints and stripped nearly all protection from the accused.

Dworek said that while Dr. Norwood’s questions were clear and concise, the panelists’ answers were muddled and confusing.

“They kept referring to Title XI and the “Dear Colleague” letter, but I didn’t even know what that was!” said Dworek. “I felt a huge disconnection between myself and the panel.”

That disconnection came from the debate taking a legal turn, which Norwood said is not surprising since sexual assault is a very legal matter.

Norwood referred to the panelists as “passionate about their topic” and “answering from a position of expertise” when asked about the disunion between panel and student body.

“Perhaps the panel were so enthralled with the questions and topic that they began to speak as though with associates as opposed to bringing it down to meet the students’ needs,” said Norwood.

One student said she found the discussion, though a bit confusing, very informative.

“It is important to realize that sexual assault should not be tolerated,” said junior Sydney Homan. “I think the panel had a lot of knowledge and insight on sexual assault cases so it was interesting to hear stories from their perspective.”

Homan said sexual assault is something all college students should be knowledgeable about so that they will have the courage to bring cases forward.  

The discussion panel ended by recommending Safe Alliance to those who were interested in more information about sexual assault and domestic violence.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Lyceum Requirement Changes Cause Confusion, Relief for Many Students

Savanna Harris, Staff Writer

When the word “Lyceum” is mentioned around the Wingate University campus, one would immediately think of a program put into place to enrich students and to broaden their educational experience. It offers students the opportunity to attend for lectures, performances, etc. that they might otherwise not be able to attend.

Even though Lyceums are a graduation requirement, they are not viewed as a burden. In fact, the majority of students get excited when an interesting Lyceum is announced.

Until this year, students were required to attend 40 Lyceums in order to complete the conditions for graduation. At the start of the 2017 school year, however, the requirement was dropped to 24.

Incoming freshmen shared an overall feeling of reprieve in learning this new information, seeing that it made college seem a little less overwhelming. Upperclassmen on the other hand, met the change with a different reaction.

Since they came to Wingate under the 40 Lyceum requirement, it wasn’t clear if the change applied to them too. Dr. Christy Carter, Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of the Lyceum Committee, was able to offer some insight.

As it turns out, the change in the number of required Lyceums applies to EVERYONE, including upperclassman who were enrolled under the original requirement.

The main cause for the change was an overall accommodation issue. With the incoming freshmen class, along with the whole student body, increasing every year, there simply wasn’t enough large areas to seat and host the events in.

Another large factor, Dr. Carter said, was intentionality, and wanting the Lyceum experience to be meaningful and enjoyable rather than oppressive. Commuter and nontraditional students and their unique situations were taken into consideration, as well. “We want students to chose Lyceums they feel they’ll actually get something out of instead of just checking off boxes for a graduation requirement.”

The change was made under the impression that students will be able to get the same benefits from going to 24 Lyceums as they could from going to 40. And thankfully, the changes seem to be a success. “So far, all of the feedback I’ve gotten from students has been good. Some faculty didn’t want the change, but there were enough who did want it for it to happen.”

For now, however, this is the only major change that is being made to the program anytime soon. The categories will remain the same, as well as attendance policies. If any other changes are made soon, they will be mainly for refinement purposes. “I think the Lyceum program should be reevaluated regularly and adapted to current situations on campus,” Dr. Carter said, “so the program will be as beneficial as possible to all who are involved.”

Edited by: Brea Childs

Lyceum preps students for successful interviews

Joanna King, Staff Writer

Going into an interview is all about having a great pair of shoes according to a panel of experts, with 130 years of combined knowledge, who hosted a Lyceum at Wingate University on Monday night.

“You can ruin a good business outfit with shoes that aren’t appropriate,” said panel member Steve Poston, the vice president and athletic director of Wingate University. “If you look like you have been out in the field plowing in the shoes you wear, it will ruin the outfit.”

Poston was one of the five-panel members to in the Lyceum discussion that allowed attending students a glimpse of why what you wear matters when it comes to getting a job. Each individual agreed that it takes only three things to make a good first impression: a nice suit for men, a professional blazer for women and a great pair of shoes are all it takes to make a good first impression.

“Somebody once told me to remember to interview for the job you want, not the job you have,” said Poston.

“It is very important to set yourself apart when making your first impression,” said Lynette Kennedy, a retail business woman for over 20 years. Tahira Stalberte, the assistant superintendent for Union County Public Schools, added onto Kennedy’s statement.

“Even though standing apart is important, make sure you yourself are not a distraction from the interview.”

All five experts agreed a candidate’s interview attire profoundly impacts the employer’s assessment of his qualifications. Kennedy said the employer may even judge a candidate’s character on what he looks like when he walks through the door to an interview.

“They really put an emphasis on first impressions,” Said Sierra Street, a sophomore at Wingate University. “It is very important to remain clean-cut and professional while still standing out enough to make that first impression last.”

Edited by Andrew Elliott and Malik Bledsoe



Dreamers of Wingate share their stories 

Savanna Harris, Staff Writer

DACA has been a hot news topic in recent weeks since the Trump Administration announced that the policy will be allowed to expire. But, what exactly is DACA?

Simply put, DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program that was put into place by President Barack Obama in 2012 to protect children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

It also allows them to acquire important documents, such as work permits and driver’s licenses. Not only that, DACA is the reason that many of these children, who have been dubbed “dreamers,” are able to attend college. This includes students right here at Wingate, who are currently faced with possibly having to return to their birth countries in the midst of obtaining a  college education.

Affected students on campus knew that more people needed to be made aware of what is happening to them and many others, so the Latino Club sponsored a Lyceum last Wednesday, appropriately named, “Dreamers of Wingate.” The event also was supported by the Modern Languages and History and Political Science departments.

At the event, political science faculty member Dr. Steven Hyland, who was the host; the pastor of a local church; an immigration lawyer; and three of our DACA students all came together to tell their stories.

Father Benjamin Roberts, pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Monroe, began by giving an emotional perspective. He said, “We want to maintain a vision of people, not numbers,” in reference to many viewpoints on immigration being based on the number of people who come here instead of why they come here. His speech paved the way for the informational portion of the program.

Following Father Roberts, Cynthia Aziz, an immigration lawyer who works out of Charlotte, provided details about the specific conditions and requirements of DACA, and gave insight into how it is being handled in Washington D.C. “DACA has become a political football, and it shouldn’t have. It was meant to be a humanitarian act,” she said.

She also went on to say that she has clients from places all over the world, such as Canada and even Lebanon, contrary to the stereotype that most or all of DACA recipients come from Central America or Mexico. The audience listened with great interest, but when the students began to recount their own personal experiences, all eyes were on them.

Alicia Rubio Gomez, sophomore, was the first of the students to speak. She described in great detail how it constantly feels as though she is up against a great opposition. “Regardless of the support, the thing that hangs in the backs of our minds are those who hate us,” said Alicia, whose parents brought her to this country from Mexico and settled in Lawrenceville, Ga.

Despite her struggles, the main one being unable to apply for colleges in Georgia, Gomez was able to come here thanks to a full scholarship designed specifically for DACA students.

Cristo Carrasco, from Charlotte, shared a similar experience, and said it has pushed him to do better. “DACA has personally influenced me to work harder, because I have been forced to carry the weight of being a ‘dreamer’ on my shoulders,” he said.

Maria Perez, freshman from Gainesville, Ga., closed out the Lyceum with the heartbreaking story of her father being deported, and went on to say that ultimately, she was not discouraged even through the heartbreak. “We will fight for a permanent solution,” she said.

Dr. Hyland said that recent polls indicate that a great majority of Americans support the right for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to become legal residents.

He said  he was pleased with the turnout of about 320 people for the event, which included students, faculty, staff and community members.“I think it was an important display of interest in DACA and its impact on Wingate and of solidarity on the part of our students for their fellow classmates and peers,” he said.

Edited by: Brea Childs