High School: St. Anne's Belfield School
Campus activities: The Brothers Organization (President), The Black-Latino Student Union (Member), Hamilton Alumni Leadership Training (Member of the Events Committee), Alcohol Coalition (Member), Resident Advisor, Audio Visual Student Intern
Last Movie Seen in Theaters:The Transporter 3
Favorite Movies: The Saw Movies
Favorite Song:Somehow, Someway/Blueprint (Jay-Z: The Gift and The Curse)
Last Book Read:I Write What I Like by Steve Biko
Favorite Book: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Hobbies/Interests:Meeting new people
Favorite Place on Campus: The Field House watching a basketball game with friends
Favorite Campus Dining Location: Commons
Fondest Hamilton Memory: There's a few for each year
Quote: "Everything happens for a reason."
Thanks to the generous support of young alumni, Hamilton is pleased to name Luvuyo Hlanganani Mandela '09 of Durban, South Africa, as its 18th GOLD Scholar. Vuyo recently sat down to reflect on his Hamilton experience, and here's what he shared.
Tell us about your parents.
My mother is the strongest woman I know. She is incredible for raising a man, as a single mother, in a culture that is so heavily based on men being raised only by men. She has taught me many lessons by merely being herself and doing what she thought she needed to do — both for herself and for me. I would say she has done a good job of being a single mother — you can be the judge.
What was high school like?
High school was an eclectic experience to say the least. I went to Westville Boys' High School (Durban, RSA) '98-'99; Milburn High School (New Jersey) '99-'00; Durban High School (Durban, RSA) '01-'03; St. Anne's Belfield School (Virginia) '03-'05. It all worked out in a strange way kind of way because of the difference in academic calendars.
Throughout the years and the different schools, I learned to adjust to change and find comfort in the idea of being in a new place with new people and new challenges. I played a variety of sports, including track and field, soccer, rugby, cricket and basketball. I enjoy all of them for the different things they taught me. Cricket taught me the most important lesson in life — never teach your father the rules of a sport that can have a single game last more than a day and have every hour of that game aired on national television.
Who inspired you?
I find inspiration in every person I deem worthy of admiration. I learned not to make people my role models, but rather to take the aspects of their character that exemplify greatness and mold them together into an imaginary role model. I admire two of my close friends for such aspects of their personalities. The first is Ramunas Rozgys '09, whom I met when I first went to St. Anne's Belfield. He came from Lithuania and had never been in an environment where English was the primary language. Despite the clear challenge, he persisted and refused to be deflated by this simple, yet complicated, communication. The second is a fellow South African, Tsakane Ngobeni '07, who graduated from St. Anne's Belfield School in 2003. I was blown away by the legacy he left at St. Anne's, which prompted me to add my own print to his footsteps. Tsakane's drive for success, even when the odds were against him, inspired me to work harder to achieve my potential.
What are three defining elements of your time on the Hill?
The defining elements of my time on the Hill have been...
1. Meeting Ms. Breland (Hamilton Class of '80 and director of opportunity programs) and all the people involved with the opportunity program.
"Mama Breland," as she is affectionately known, constantly challenges me to do more than settle for the status quo. When I first arrived on campus, she pushed me to take tough classes with course work outside my comfort zone. When I decided to stop playing basketball, she challenged me to take a more active role in my other activities. And she's a big part of the reason that I became president of The Brother's Organization and have taken on other positions with campus committees and organizations. Mama Breland and everyone associated with the opportunity program have helped in many ways throughout my years on the Hill, ensuring that I remain focused on achieving the highest level of success. In this way, my Hamilton family has helped to inspire the drive my mother instilled in me as a child.
2. Losing basketball and still finding a way to enjoy Hamilton.
3. Making close friends.
What are your plans after Hamilton?
I plan to take one more step toward realizing a prosperous future. Some of my friends joke about coming and visiting me in "The Kingdom." And while I do not have one and will probably never have one, I do plan on having something similar. On a more serious note, my plan is to continue learning wherever I go and using the opportunities I have been given to provide opportunities for others. My goal is to land a job that has upward mobility and provides opportunity to meet and work with people who are personally and professionally successful and readily able to share their methods of success. For in order to be the best, I need to learn from the best.
What advice or perspective would you share with alumni?
I encourage all alumni of Hamilton to return to campus and take an active role in meeting the students that their contributions are helping.
Gold Scholars is an initiative supported by the Annual Fund, which has always provided direct support for the College's most important current priorities, especially scholarship aid. Starting this year, gifts from the GOLD Group – Graduates of the Last Decade – will specifically support students on campus. With each $15,000 increment collectively contributed, the College will select a student as a GOLD Scholar for 2008-09.