Adapted from an address at the 2017 Cabrini Visionaries Gala
Hello. My name is Treci Butler, and it is my pleasure to share my Cabrini journey with you.
This has not been an easy road, but a rocky road makes for a powerful journey.
Neither one of my parents had graduated from college; I was the oldest child, working 30+ hours a week, with a 2.9 GPA in high school. I had planned on attending a state school that I thought was cheaper, and was fine with being a teacher after graduating from college.
I had suffered a horrible house fire my senior year, and was seriously starting my life over.
But for all of those out there who believe, God had a greater plan for me.
My closest friend since 5th grade had chosen Cabrini as his school, and had been telling me to put my application in for a while. Most would think it was ludicrous for me to apply to a school just because my friend told me to, but anyone who knows Jack Dunleavy knows that he is a trustworthy individual who would never steer you wrong.
So I did it.
I had always been the kid who had to go the extra mile, so I decided to go the extra mile again by Doing Something Extraordinary [an ode to Cabrini's former tagline]. I saw that Cabrini had a reputation for “fighting the good fight," something that was instilled in me at an early age: one from being the oldest child, and then of course from being a black male in an oppressive society.
I was accepted into Cabrini within a week of applying, and I had never felt a sense of security like I felt with Cabrini. It was that sense of security that you feel when you call your grandmother and tell her you’re hungry, and she shows up with meals to feed an army.
After visiting a state school where the history chair failed to show up to greet the prospective history majors, it was a big deal when the chair of the history department at [then] Cabrini College, Professor Mace, called my cell phone and talked to me as if we had known each other for years. It was great to see an African American male do something that I had only dreamed of—obtain a PhD.
This conversation was the deciding factor for me ... I decided that I wanted to attend Cabrini for sure, and it was the best decision I ever made.
Upon coming to Cabrini, I did not know what I would do, but I knew I would do something great. Being a commuter would not stop me from promoting change, and I would not let it stop me from networking.
My first year at Cabrini was monumental. I was asked if I was interested in classroom coaching, I made lifelong friends in my learning community, received a scholarship mid-spring semester, and saw the highest GPA that I had ever seen. I had lunch with the president (that was cool), and applied to be an Orientation Leader and an RA—so things were looking up!
I had to be doing something right, because I had gotten both the OL and RA jobs. I decided to take the RA job instead, which meant I had to move on campus my sophomore year.
This was a hard decision to make, as I was the man of the house, who had to decide to stay home, or seek a new opportunity.
In attending Cabrini, I had to make a lot of choices that would potentially make or break me. Deciding on being an RA or OL was just the beginning. As time went on, I had to question if I wanted to ignite change by meeting with the president to discuss the lack of inclusivity I saw on campus. To my surprise, he was open to this conversation.
Living with Purpose has led to me to be on the executive board of two honor societies; I am in my third and final year as an RA, and I am fortunate enough to be the Vice President of the Black Student Union; I have flown to foreign nations with Cabrini with no hesitation; all because Cabrini has taught me the importance of taking chances.
Chances. My journey to, and at Cabrini has taught me to take chances. Don’t let anything stop you, or you will be stuck in the same place forever. I have never felt more empowered than I do now. It is because of the endless opportunities that I have at Cabrini that I can say I am truly Living With Purpose.