Why I Left My College

Dr. Julianne Malveaux | 3/15/2012, 2:10 p.m.

When I first came to Bennett a valued staff member chuckled at my pace. It's not a sprint, she said, it's a marathon. I replied that it is a sprinting marathon. Now I yield to her wisdom. Impossible. You can't run at the pace that I tried to run without paying a price. I did. I so fully appreciate the difference between being 53 and being 58 I fully understand the toll that stress, sleeplessness, and diabetes can take on one's life. I fully understand that while I talked about balance , I never practiced it. And I fully understand that my need to go is as much a result of my own exhaustion as anything else.

I am not an HBCU graduate, and had I been, I would likely have been a very different person. At my undergraduate college, African-American students fought to establish their intellectual chops, while at Bennett, the development of intellectual chops is applauded and encouraged. Without being an HBCU graduate, I am an HBCU fan, and my experience at Bennett convinces me that I will always be. I love my college so much that I hate to leave it, but it's time.

When I say that I have never had a job for more than five years, I'm being flip. I wrote for Black Issues for 15 years, have been affiliated with USA Today since 1986, and have written columns (my first love) since 1984. But I am a free spirit that rebels against structure, and I accepted the structure of leading a college, I realized that conformity would be a stretch goal. I stretched for five years. Now I need to exhale.