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Darryl Vernon Poole, 21-year Bentley University Trustee Emeritus, Delivers Powerful Keynote at Bentley’s 26th Annual Martin Luther King Celebration
A standing-room-only crowd gathered for Bentley University’s 26th annual Celebration for Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. on January 24, 2012. Keynote Darryl Vernon Poole, 21-year Bentley University Trustee Emeritus, delivered a powerful message emphasizing the strength of the individual and the ability to change the world by saving a child. Poole is a 1968 Bentley graduate and certified internal auditor, and the first African American from Bentley to attend The Alfred P. Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“The power of the individual to do good and to make changes, and to accomplish those changes, and to help and to heal is the most unrealized, unexploited, unrecognized power on earth,” Poole said as he opened his inspirational address. “Open your eyes and see opportunities, open your eyes and dream what is possible. Follow Dr. King’s dream. Unleash the power of your heart.”
In the quest for change, Poole’s message was simple, yet powerful and emotional.
“It is so easy to be tremendously overwhelmed by the destruction, suffering, poverty and disease [in the world]... but there is something you can do: Save one child … If you save a child, that child’s parent, siblings, extended family, neighbors, small community, existing generation and the generations that follow … will revere you … It is beyond anything you can even now imagine. All the gold on earth does not equal looking into the face of a parent whose child you have saved.”
Poole reflected on the struggles of African American high school students and the African American press in Little Rock, Arkansas during 1957 — particularly the brutal beating and subsequent death of Lucious Alexander (Alex) Wilson, editor-in-chief of the Tri-State Defender (Memphis, Tennessee) and later of the Chicago Defender. Poole concluded by revealing Wilson as his uncle.
“We are made in time … Nothing changes you quite so much as burying a relative to violence,” he said. “ … He died at 51 … Ten years later, I graduated from Bentley. Ten years after graduating, I was asked to join the board.”
He continued: “If we dream alone, we simply dream. If we dream together, we create reality. You have to strive for excellence, tolerance, passion and faith. All else is but the journey.”
The program opened with a welcome from Bentley President Gloria Cordes Larson.
“This is a chance for faculty, staff, students and invited guests to push the pause button and really reflect … in the way that Reverend King would want us to do,” she said. “Ways we can continue to raise awareness, increase understanding, and instill sensitivity to others.”
Larson reflected on the long-lasting impact that Martin Luther King, Jr. has had on her life.
“It was an era dominated by the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and the fight for women’s equality,” Larson said of her college years during the late 1960s. “But none of those seismic changes that were affecting our country so affected my decision to go to law school and to pursue career in public service more than the death of Dr. King; the upheaval that followed in the largest of our urban centers, and the ways that these so vividly underscored our need as a country to address a justice and inequality on our society.”
She concluded with a quote from Dr. King, urging people to take a stand when they see examples of hate and injustice. “The time is always right, to do what’s right.”
The program concluded with the presentation of Bentley’s 2012 MLK Recognition Awards to R. Gilbert Congdon, adjunct associate professor of mathematical sciences; Roger Danchise, associate dean and director of OCSD/counseling and student development; and Beverly Edgehill, president and CEO of The Partnership, and former Bentley faculty member.
ABOUT DARRYL VERNON POOLE: Darryl Vernon Poole is a member of the graduate faculty, and instructor of Executive MBA Programs for the School of Accountancy at The Fogelman College of Business & Economics, University of Memphis. His teaching concentrations include corporate governance and ethics, business and global society, strategic planning, and executive leadership. As a practitioner with three decades of executive financial and CFO experience for private and public corporations, he is also the founder and chief strategist of The Cambridge Institute for Applied Research (CIfAR).In this concurrent role, Poole serves as a private executive advisor for global change patterns, governance and critical decision and change management. He focuses on counsel to senior executives and confidential advisory to individuals, private sector organizations, privately held corporations, specific government agencies, and academic institutions. For more than 10 years, he served as senior editor and publisher of CIfAR’s internationally distributed private publication, Institute Commentaries on World Change.
He was also visiting associate professor of management at the School of Business & Public Administration at The University of the District of Columbia, and currently serves as senior advisor, Office of the President, at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.
In addition to being a trustee emeritus at Bentley, Poole is an honorary international trustee for the Sugawara Institute, Sendai, Japan, and has served on the board of several other institutions. He is cited in a number of industry publications and references, and was recognized by the (now) U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology for work during the 1970s in the determination of criteria for computer systems security.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.