By Terry Lewis The Albany Herald, Ga.
As an educator, author and entrepreneur, Bisa Batten Lewis is a firm believer in the ABCs of education. As the keynote speaker at Albany State University's 2015 Honors Day Convocation, Lewis, a graduate of ASU, chose to build her address around the letter "B."
"I am here today to remind you who you are," Lewis, the founder of Ideal Early Learning, LLC, said. "I want you to build your lives around five Bs -- Be aware, Be grateful, Be proactive, Be passionate and Be different."
"I feel honored and privileged to return to my alma mater representing the power of the HBCU (historically black college and university)," Lewis said. "I want students to learn that they can break the 'glass ceilings' if they honor and embrace the 'blue and gold'."
The annual event serves to formally recognize and honor undergraduate students from all disciplines who have demonstrated superiority and excellence in achieving and excelling in academic course work and research.
Lewis then launched into her five Bs.
"Be aware of who you are. How often do you think about the future? Take advantage of all the opportunities that will come your way," she said. "Be grateful for what (ASU founder Joseph Holley) built here, for he was preparing for the future. Be proactive and don't wait for the last day to register for classes you want ... only to find out all those classes are closed. Be passionate and find something you believe in and can carry with you for the rest of your life. Be different. It's OK to be different, don't always join the masses. We need for you to be different. Be involved, be an original and not a copy."
More than 400 individuals were recognized and honored by the university Friday. Yixuan Wang was named researcher of the year; Cynthia F. Bennett was named teacher of the year; and Dedra S. Williams was recognized as staff employee of the year.
"Experiences at ASU prepare us to be anything we want to be, go anyplace we want to go, do anything we put our minds to," Lewis said.
"We're as knowledgeable and qualified as anyone else in this world aspiring to do the same, if not more. All we have to do is prepare ourselves by taking advantage of the opportunities placed before us. It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not."
Frequently referred to as "Dr. Bisa," Lewis is regularly sought after by educational agencies and non-profit organizations. Celebrities, magazines, and talk shows seeking her expertise on parenting, child development and learning, and best practices for mentoring, coaching, and training adults.
Lewis earned a master's degree and doctorate in Adult Education with a concentration in College Leadership at the University of Georgia. She earned the Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees in Early Childhood Education from Albany State.