Reflections on a great professor

Dear Dr. Dorothy Alexander:




I received the news of your passing on last Sunday February 28 from a friend. To say that I was shocked and saddened by the news of your passing is putting it mildly. 

As I write this letter to you to say goodbye, I am reminded of how honored and blessed to have known you as a scholar, mentor and a source for guidance while a student at Grambling State University in the 1990s. I am also blessed to have gotten to call you my friend years after graduation. 

I want to say thank you for being a major influence in my life as I matriculated at GSU as an undergraduate student as well as graduate student. Thank you so much for being that voice of validation for me when so many others at the university attempted to marginalize my presence with descriptive words such militant or controversial, all because I had the courage to speak up against and stand up against the many ills that were plaguing our beloved university at that time. 

Thank you, Dr. Alexander, for opening up your heart and your home to those of us who were considered the militant outcasts at the university. Thank you so much for always encouraging me to be the best ME that I can be despite the unfounded opinions of others. 



I thank you so much for having my back when so many times I felt alone in my fight, alone in my plight as a young man who believed that he was doing the right thing, but (according to others) often at the wrong times.   

Every time we would have our chats, I would often remind myself that I am actually having a full blown out conversation with one of Grambling’s true scholars and academic treasures.  I am going to miss you believing in me as much as I believed in myself. Even though you are no longer here physically, your spirit of giving, sharing, adventure, and cultural awareness will definitely live on inside of me and all of those who were fortunate enough to cross paths with you.

Rest in peace, Dr. Alexander. You did all that you were supposed to do while you were here. 

You definitely set the bar high for many to attempt to achieve as it relates to womanhood, scholarship, humanity, and the behavior of a true friend.


Rico Rivers graduated from Grambling State University in 1994 and 1996. He now lives in Grand Prairie, Texas.