Posted on Jan 22, 2015 in Campus News and News
Two years ago, Alyssa Cole wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, describing her challenges as a full-time student and single mother of three children. In addition to sending her a reply at the time, the president and his staff apparently saved her letter, because on Monday, Jan. 19, Cole received a call from a White House staff member, who invited Cole and her children to attend President Obama’s speech Jan. 22 during his visit to KU.
“I was pretty shocked, almost into silence,” Cole says. “I didn’t know what to say at first.”
She managed to say yes, but another surprise was in store: “On Tuesday, they called back and asked if I would introduce the president.”
Cole, a senior majoring in history with a minor in African-American Studies, wrote her own introduction of the president and submitted it to the White House for review. Her children, son Jordan, 7; daughter, Jasmine, 4; and son Max, 3, will accompany her to the president’s speech in KU’s Anschutz Sports Pavilion, just down Irving Hill Road from the KU’s Hilltop Child Development Center, where Jasmine and Max are students.
Cole will walk down the Hill in May. As one of KU’s McNair Scholars, she will spend the summer researching African-American women in the military. She plans to attend graduate school, most likely at KU. The Garden City native moved to Lawrence with her children after completing community college in her hometown. “I always wanted to come to KU,” she says.
—Jennifer Jackson Sanner