Thursday, June 18, 2009

In memory ...

As I learned about the passing of the son of one of our PROMISE members, I began to think about the loved ones of so many of our grad students and team members who have passed away since the major programs of PROMISE began in 2003. 

This post is dedicated to them. They loved, they continue to be loved, and they continue to inspire.  These are the names that I can think of at the moment. Others are free to add in.

* Jessica Soto Perez (left, 1977-2004), one of our own grad students, in our first cohort of PROMISE Peer Mentors (UMBC)

* Gloria Reynoso, the mother of Gloria Anglon, UMCP PROMISE Coordinator

* Joshua Wheagar (the one who came to prepare the way) Mosley, the son of Dr. Sylvester and Korto Mosley (Sly, former PROMISE Peer Mentor, UMBC)

* The brother of Dr. Johnetta Davis (PROMISE Co-PI, UMCP)

* Professor Philip J. Rutledge, the father of Dr. Janet Rutledge (PROMISE Co-PI, UMBC)

* Jesse Oyd Harris, Jr., the father of Dr. Robin Smiles (former PROMISE Peer Mentor, UMCP)

* The grandmother of Adrienne Starks (PROMISE student, UMBC)

* The father of Yvette Williams (PROMISE student, UMBC)

* Gladys Franco de Ordóñez , the mother of Patti Ordóñez-Rozo (PROMISE Peer Mentor, UMBC)

* Julia Mae Major, the mother of David L. Major (PROMISE Peer Mentor, UMCP)

And most recently, the young man who inspired this post, Sekai Ayinde Williams, the son of Asha-Lateef Williams (PROMISE Peer Mentor, UMCP). Sekai means: "Full of Laughter" and Ayinde means "We prayed for him."


  1. Lori Kiyatkin (via email)June 30, 2009 at 11:14 AM

    Dear Friends,

    As you have likely heard, David Major's mother, Julia Mae Major, recently passed.
    Mrs. Major was a strong proponent of education and a long-time resident of the Miami
    area. She was a beloved teacher in Miami-Dade Public Schools and the Miami-Dade
    Community Action Agency’s Head Start Program. Find (below) a dedication to Mrs.
    Major written by Dave and his family.

    In Mrs. Major's memory, Azi and I are informally accepting donations through June 1
    to pass on to Dave who will in turn select and support the education of one or more
    low-income students in the Miami area. If you would like to informally contribute
    money, please be in touch with me, Azi, or Dave.

    We also plan to sit together at Dave's graduation ceremony in December and carry a
    flower/wear a pin in Mrs. Major's honor. We will be back in touch with you all in
    December to specify a special seating area at the ceremony.

    Please contact Lori at or Azi at if you have any questions.

    In Mrs. Major's Memory,
    Lori, Azi, and Dave

  2. Lori Kiyatkin (via email)June 30, 2009 at 11:15 AM


    A strong Christian mother, of Miami-Dade County, Florida was
    called home on Monday, April 27, 2009.

    Mother Major was born to the late James and Willie Mae Haynes on the 27th of November, 1931, in Greenville, Florida. She was the seventh child, with two dear sisters remaining, Mamie Lou Akins and Nettie Collins. In December, 1950, she married
    the late William Major, Sr. and together they raised a family of eleven children in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Mother Major graduated from Greenville High in 1949 and
    received Bachelors and Masters of Arts-Divinity degrees from Logo Bible College in Jacksonville, FL; undergraduate studies at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL;
    and an Associates of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood from Miami-Dade College in Miami-Dade, FL.

    Mother Major was a beloved teacher in Miami-Dade Public Schools and the Miami-Dade Community Action Agency’s Head Start Program until she retired in 2003. Hers was a fitting profession, because she was passionate about making a difference in the lives of students. She would often say, “If you want to be taught, I will teach.” Mother Major was highly respected and honored by her students and colleagues. In fact, her good work was saluted by her director in an official ceremony celebrating her retirement.

    Mother Major believed in devotion, study, and prayer. She was a devout servant of God, who answered God’s call to the ministry. As a licensed missionary, Mother Major preached the word of Jesus Christ from the pulpit, the street corner, and door-to-door. No matter where she was, her interest and purpose in life was sharing God’s plan for salvation. Mother Major was a faithful member of Macedonia Church of God In
    Christ of Richmond Heights, Florida. She was officially inducted into the Macedonia Mother’s Board because she embodied the qualities of a Church Mother established by the church, including “A Lover of Souls”, “A Model of Good Work”, “A Willing and Faithful Worker”, and “A Seasoned and Prayerful Mother”. Mother Major also served the Lord for many years in the Church of Christ Written In Heaven.

    Most notably, she was the long time President of the YPCW, where she guided members in the in depth study of Scripture, and she was often called upon to lead the review of the adult Sunday School. She served also as the President of the church Prayer Band because of her unshakeable belief in the power of prayer.

    Mother Major loved God and loved family. With God as her guide, she held her family together after the passing of her husband thirty-three years ago, and is today survived by all her eleven children – all of whom went to college. Nine children live in Miami-Dade County, one in Valdosta, GA, and one in the Greater Washington DC area – Alma J. Major Dean, William Major, Jr., Elder Dawn Calvin Major (Sherry), Lydia G. Major Flowers (Joseph), Harold W. Major (Gladys), Deborah A. Major Daniels (Johnnie), Kenneth B. Major (Sheryl), Deacon Gerald C. Major (Edna), Beverly Major Jones (Marcus), Carol J. Major, and David Lanier Major, PhD Candidate. Her legacy of high expectations and high esteem lives on in her children; her 40 grand children, numerous great grandchildren, and extended family members.


We invite PROMISE members to offer tributes to loved ones who have inspired them.

When a student goes to grad school, he/she is usually thinking about the excitement of new classes, the promise of the Ph.D., the effect that he/she will have on the world with newly acquired expertise. But when "life happens" (e.g. a loved one passes away) it is unexpected, and unplanned. This site is dedicated to those loved ones who have passed away, to those persons who are alive and continue to encourage, and to you, the grad students who are determined to press forward to continue to achieve your goals.

Feel free to post thoughts, photos, stories ... your tributes.