A young man named Tommie Mabry has finally bagged a PhD degree from Jackson State University after facing a tough academic journey that had him expelled from school 10 different times.
Dr Tommie Mabry is a motivational speaker from Mississippi. He earned his Doctorate degree in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University, Mississippi in the United States.
According to reports, Dr Mabry was very problematic during his childhood. In his fifth grade, he was sentenced to several days in a detention centre and had been expelled by 10 public schools before getting to high school.
Dr Mabry, who was the youngest and last born of six siblings eventually graduated from high school, making him the first in his family to do so. He earned a 1.8 GPA and was admitted to Missouri State University.
My parents are happy and have attended all of my graduations. They proudly keep all of my books in their home. Hopefully, if God says the same, they will be there at my Ph.D. graduation in December,” Mabry said. “My mom said she didn’t think I would make it and now I’m the only doctor she knows,’’ he added.
He mentioned that basketball was what saved him as he found solace in it when he got discouraged with studying. That basketball gave him hope and exposed him to what was possible.
“I start playing basketball, and Tupac’s lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba; he took me on the road with him and exposed me to AAU Basketball. I credit AAU for saving my life,going on the road with him, I was able to see other ballplayers from other states that were dreaming big,’’ he said.
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His impressive basketball skills garnered the attention of college recruiters from all over the country and he got admission offers from them. However he had an accident involving his foot in his senior year of high school and all his admissions got canceled.
“When the doctor asked me what I was now that I didn’t have basketball, I said nothing. Without that, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. Colleges that were writing to me before revoked my scholarships,” Dr. Mabry said.
The life-changing moment caused him to meditate on his life and it led him on a spiritual journey to find peace and understanding. He sacrificed friendships to take up a new attitude that would influence him positively.
Then a late actor named Tommy Ford took him under his wing and began mentoring him. He used Tommy Ford’s advice to not allow his circumstances to define him, which propelled him to push through his senior year.
”I got ‘God is good’ tattooed on my neck because that’s the first time I started seeking God. When I got baptized, I went in on crutches because I like everyone I am hanging with is either going to jail or dying, the streets took them, and I’m still living,” he said.
”But I’m making the same mistakes that I see everyone else do,” he said. “In order to get something you never had, you have to do something you never did and become a person you have never been. I had to sacrifice. I had to sacrifice friendships, to get to another place I had to be different from that attitude, then that same year I met actor Tommy Ford.,” he added.
In the university, people still judged him and told him he wouldn’t finish in school because of his learning disabilities but he persevered and studied hard learning how to write and spell in the library by himself.
“I didn’t know how to write a paragraph until college, and they don’t teach that. I had a professor tell me I wouldn’t get a degree because I don’t write the way I should, I’m not a scholar. So I stayed In the writing lab at every college I went to,” Mabry said.
“The hard thing wasn’t the neighborhood; that was easy because I’m from it. It was sitting in a classroom with other scholars and scared for them to call on me to spell something on the board, that was my biggest fear. I worked on that my whole college career, but my mind was different, my why was different,’’ he added.
In the end, Dr. Mabry received his honors Bachelor’s degree in education from Tugaloo College and a Master’s degree in child development from the same college.
Now, Dr. Mabry is an author, motivational speaker, and educational consultant.
He makes use of his story to motivate and inspires prisoners and children across the country through teaching and leadership development.
“I’m teaching them how to tie a tie bringing in consultants and exposing them to what’s possible, and my men are teaching them trades and financial literacy. That’s what we are supposed to do; we gotta leave them something. We got to put them in place to graduate…that’s how we build,’’ he said.
He is also the founder of the Tommie Mabry Company which he uses to promote professional development that empowers men and children across the country. He has also written and published several best-selling books including A Dark Journey To a Light Future and If Tommie Can Do It, We Can Do It.