Joe Webb kicks off Cal U's Black History Month series of events.
Cal U students have the ability to succeed by applying themselves, making smart decisions and taking advantage of the opportunities in front of them.
This straightforward advice from Joe Webb — motivational speaker, trainer, coach, entrepreneur and mentor — began Cal U’s Black History Month celebration.
He delivered a presentation, “Walking Both Sides of the Street: The Road to Academic Success,” in the Performance Center on Jan. 29.
Originally from Donora, Pa., Webb shared his journey of growing up in foster care, brushes with the law and experiencing the smell of failure before enjoying the taste of success.
He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree and is pursuing a doctoral degree in higher education administration.
“A pastor told me God will never put yourself into a situation you can’t handle,” he said. “College is an investment that you can control, and you’re only as good as you want to be, but you have to make that choice.
“You can’t think about it, you can’t talk about it, you have to do it.”
He encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities and many resources on campus quicker than he did.
“Utilize the resources here,” said Webb, noting that campus resources can help with achievement.
Despite owning two degrees and being a standout scholastic and collegiate football player, Webb had difficulties landing a job in higher education until getting a criminal offense as a teen-ager expunged from his record.
He said the pastor’s message kept him on the right track in challenging times.
“As young men and women you have to realize that you won’t reap immediate reward from many of the decisions you make today, but you’ll benefit from them for the rest of your life because your actions will become lifelong habits,” Webb said.
“Identify your strengths and apply them because the foundation you are building for the rest of your life is now.”
Corey White, a junior majoring in communication studies with a minor in psychology, appreciated Webb’s message.
After beginning his collegiate career with a 0.8 grade-point average White has made the Dean’s List three consecutive semesters. During the question-and-answer session, Webb advised White to become a mentor.
“I thought the saying about never being put in a situation you can’t handle was beautiful because we are where we are, and so much is about attitude and not giving up,” White said. “I gave up mentally my freshman year but am now focused.
“I have definitely come a long way, and hearing him speak makes me realize that I was supposed to have gone through what I did. I am going to take his advice and want to help other people.”