|Major Joseph Kelly presents Lt. Col. Eurydice S. (Stephens) Stanley with an award for serving as keynote speaker for the Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony.|
May 17, 2011
. – Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumnae Lt. Col. Eurydice S. (Stephens) Stanley returned to Tallahassee to present the Army ROTC Rattler Battalion commissioning address. The speech provided the unique opportunity to consider what she would have said to herself 20 years ago when she was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army.
“There were so many lessons learned that I became overwhelmed,” said Stanley. “I asked some of my friends what they would say and realized that many of their responses had been given to me as a student by professors and mentors. I just didn’t realize the importance at the time. I wanted to give an address that would help the officers recognize what they had already been given by the caring instructors and staff at FAMU, encourage them to pat themselves on the back for doing what it took to make it this far and prepare them for what may lie ahead.”
Stanley shared life lessons that she did not necessarily realize when she left FAMU in a speech titled “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned at FAMU” based on the poem by Robert Fulghum. She addressed several relevant points, such as the faithfulness of God and the importance of mentors, who Stanley sees as a requirement, not an option.
“I had so many mentors – COL Hendricks, COL Joe, Dr. Taylor, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Clark…there were too many to name, but they all really cared and permanently imprinted their expectations of excellence by example,” said Stanley.
She continues to be driven by the encouragement of her mentors.
“During our freshman convocation, President Humphries told us ‘You don’t have to prove yourselves to me, I already know you’re good, now just go do it.’”
She mentored the new officers, noting, “…the same holds true for you. You have proven yourselves, you are here, you are exceptional – now just go do it.”
Stanley, who followed in the footsteps of her father, LTC (Ret.) Quewanncoii C. Stephens, was trained by the FAMU Army ROTC Rattler Battalion. Her grandmother, Mrs. Emmarhaye P. Mitchell, is a graduate of FAMC.
“As it turns out, the ONLY historically black college is FAMU,” joked Stanley.
Her children were present at the speech, allowing Stanley to plant seeds in the hopes of continuing the Rattler legacy within her daughter Grace, age 8 and son Christian, age 5. Stanley’s great-great-great uncle, Elias G. Evans, was the first alumni president of FAMU. This year, the family will celebrate the 110th year of his service to FAMU and will present a scholarship in his name to the university at their family reunion in July.
Stanley graduated from FAMU in 1991 with a degree in public management and with a minor in military science and political science and received a certificate of labor relations. An active Rattler, she participated in Army ROTC and served as senior class president and a member of the Miss FAMU court, numerous honor societies, organizations and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
“There was nothing at FAMU that I wanted to do that I did not have the opportunity to do,” she said. “I was in a nurturing, supportive environment that allowed me to flourish.”
Upon graduation, Stanley was granted an educational delay to postpone attending the Adjutant General Corps officer basic course. She accepted a scholarship to the University of Minnesota where she graduated with a master of arts in industrial relations in 1994. Stanley later pursued her Ph.D. while on active duty, graduating summa cum laude in 2000 from Louisiana Baptist University.
She has served in the military for 18 years, primarily in the personnel arena. She has published three books, founded a non-profit organization and traveled the globe conducting human relations training for the Department of Defense. She is most proud of her work training senior leaders, to include conducting training for the South African National Defense Force after Transformation. She was recently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel by the Honorable Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and was awarded the 2010 Department of Defense Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award and the Adjutant General’s Corps Achievement Medal in 2011 for exceptional service.
Lt. Col. Stanley currently serves as the Reserve Component Advisor at the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) in Pensacola, Florida, where she assists military personnel in pursuit of their educational goals. Appropriately, she made the cadets pledge to pursue their master’s degrees within six months of reporting to their new assignments, and encouraged them to start building their retirement savings.
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