The Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia
By Shabnam Quershi and Phoenix Langdon. September 16, 2013
This Tuesday, September 10th, the Globe Hall at the Montgomery College Germantown campus held its first event of the Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia of the fall 2013 series. Due to the fact that Mr. Islam generously donated a large sum of money to help fund this year’s Symposia, the Symposia was named in honor of him. Mr. Islam, who is described as being an entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist, was set to be the first guest speaker of the Symposia.
By the time the presentation was to begin, the hall slowly swelled to capacity as people of all ages and backgrounds were escorted to their seats by members of the student senate. There was not an empty seat in the house. The president of Montgomery College, Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, Dean of Humanities Office, Dr. Norma Goldstein, as well as the Montgomery College Board of Trustees, the Renaissance scholars, and the Hillman Entrepreneurs were all present.
After being welcomed on stage, President Pollard shared her inspiration for hosting the Symposia. She discussed the origins of Mr. Islam’s career path, by sharing that his original business consisted of one employee (Mr. Islam himself), and then grew to over 2,000. She then introduced the man of the hour, Mr. Frank F. Islam. She portrayed Mr. Islam’s belief that the Symposia events are vital to students because they provide them with insight and inspiration on how to lead successful lives in service of their community, and ultimately the world as a whole. She went on to note that Montgomery College, being an extremely diverse institution, is a driving force in motivating and empowering young individuals to enact change and serve communities internationally.
After her informative and moving opening, Dr. Pollard welcomed Mr. Islam to the podium. After taking the stage, Mr. Islam touched on the key points of his new book, Working the Pivot Points to Make America Work Again, which is to be released in October. His main points included the pivot points of individual economic well-being, education, and innovation. He focused on addressing the up and coming generations of Americans, and all that there is to be done in order to secure a bright future for America. He believes the only nation standing in the way of America’s future success is America itself. Directly addressing the students in the crowd, Mr. Islam urged them to take control of their future and stressed the importance of education. He stated that the future of not only the nation, but the world rests on the shoulders of our young generation. He strongly believes that the solution to ensure the future success of the nation is to concentrate on early childhood education. One of his most notable final remarks was his statement that “Community colleges are pivotal to the future of America, and Montgomery College, through opportunities like the Athenaeum Symposia, is playing a significant role in creating the next generation of leaders for America.” The room filled with the sound of the audience applauding in agreement. Mr. Islam elegantly concluded his inspiring speech with a word of advice to the entire audience: “Pick a pivot point and become involved.”
On behalf of the Montgomery College community, and the Hillman Entrepreneurs, we thank thank Mr. Islam and President Pollard for the Symposia.