June 23, 2005
Pearlie Beverly, coordinator of multicultural student activities. Photo by Cliff Cheney
Prayer requests, mountains of paperwork and about 50 students pass through Pearlie Beverly's office daily. As Baylor's coordinator of multicultural student activities, Beverly assists minority student groups, which have grown from nine to 40 in her 10 years in this position.
The word gets around among students that if you need help, go to Miss Beverly. "Having three family members come through my office - that's success. It's great to hear a new student say, 'Hey, my cousin told me to come see you.' That means that the student that graduated really enjoyed the programs we were able to do," she says.
Students often enlist her aid in organizing banquets, festivals, guest speakers and pageants, but they come to her for encouragement and advice as well.
"I see an average of 50 students a day, and not all of them have questions. I get lots of hugs and prayer requests - usually for exams," she laughs. "I tell them, 'I'll just pray that you studied last night.'"
Connecting people is important to Beverly. She is an active member of New Zion Baptist Church and involved in LINKS, an organization that brings community groups together. In 1992, she founded Portraits Inc., a multicultural performing arts organization with members ranging from ages 3 to 25. She says her goal is to help people "understand the importance of God in their lives, family and education."
Well-known for issuing challenges to students, she also is willing to accept one. Daphne Carr, a student Beverly encouraged to obtain a master's degree, told her mentor she should do likewise. Beverly agreed and joined her daughter, Dorian, as a graduate student at Baylor, receiving her master's in education administration in August 2001.
Students are highly responsive to Beverly's care and commitment, both academically and emotionally. In her honor, they have written poems, thrown parties and even declared a "Miss Pearlie Beverly Day." None of which lets them off the hook. Since Beverly earned her master's degree, she's raised the bar. "They all have to do better than me," says Beverly. "Now that I have my master's, they all have to get PhD's."
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