May 20, 2017
Every great institution starts with an idea, relying on motivated people to make it reality. You, Russell L. Goings, have guided many institutions to excellence throughout your career—a career in which you have pushed past barriers and excelled at seeing the potential in ideas of all kinds.
One such institution is Essence magazine, which was born in your office nearly 50 years ago. You raised the capital to launch the publication and served as its first chairman. You also were an early supporter of the Studio Museum in Harlem, becoming one of its first chairmen.
Your ability to spot good ideas served you well as a stockbroker in New York City, where you guided the Harlem branch of investment firm Shearson, Hammill & Co. to become the most profitable in the company. You eventually took ownership of that branch, which became First Harlem Securities, and earned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
Later, you turned a nose for business into an eye for talent, becoming an art collector and dealer. Those works inspired your writing, including your epic, celebrated poem, “The Children of Children Keep Coming,” which highlights the rich, complicated history of African Americans in the United States.
For all the ideas you have nurtured, for the institutions you have helped to create and for the beauty you have brought to light, Russell L. Goings, we present you with this honorary Doctor of Laws.