A College Presidency Maligned
"If this could happen to Dolores Cross,
it could happen to anyone."
Dr. Joyce Ann Joyce,
Editor of the Temple University
Faculty Herald and Professor of English
"If the government accused her,
she must have done something wrong."
A colleague who remains anonymous
Resuscitating a distressed college:
For over three decades, Dolores E. Cross, Ph.D., succeeded in her journey from the housing projects in Newark, N.J. to the pinnacles of academia. Dr. Cross has received high praise for achievements as faculty, administrator and university president. Her record in urging students and colleagues to take risks to make a difference to promote access to and excellence in education for all eligible students is well documented. In October 1998, Dr. Cross made the decision to accept the presidency at a revered struggling and financially fragile historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia. Notwithstanding three years of heroic efforts and successes in addressing systemic and longstanding problems at the time of her resignation, unmet operational issues remained unresolved.
A wall can emerge at any time:
Following her departure as president of the college, Dolores Cross became the target of FBI and Grand Jury investigations and was indicted of criminal wrong doing in the oversight of student financial aid. Betrayal, slanted media coverage and prosecutorial zeal would cast a shadow over a lifetime of achievements. What happened and how did she deal with an ordeal that would change her life forever?
Resilience, endurance, forgiveness:
BEYOND THE WALL: A Memoir, provides a candid view of finding opportunity in crisis and uncovering the power of resilience, endurance and forgiveness. In the aftermath of her indictment, Dr. Cross was never interviewed by the press. She breaks her silence.
My wake-up call:
Being awakened in my bedroom at 2 a.m. by a male caller asking me who I was and where -- was, no pun intended, my wake-up call.
Glancing down at the electronic bracelet around my ankle, I saw what had pulled me down into darkness far from all I believed in and had accomplished. Then and there I decided I would have to answer who I am, not to my caller, but to all men and women, regardless of color or background, who have given themselves to a cause they believe in, only to find themselves as I did, falsely accused of a crime striking at the very heart of their work, their sacrifices. and their reputation.
What happened to my marathon to reach the finish line of empowerment for others, what happened to the runners beside me, what happened to the markers in the distance showing how far I had come, how much distance remained? What had happened to the long road I had taken since childhood, following in the steps of the Freedom Marchers in the 60's, what had happened to the young Ph.D. filled with idealism, who overcame every professional challenge as one more hurdle to leap over, moving onward?
BEYOND THE WALL: A Memoir is a book that emerged from my year of home confinement. It is a journey back down those roads, not alongside others, but alone, to find where I had veered from the path into the imposed darkness where I found myself. Where in fact had I dropped the torch handed to me by my ancestors so that I could hand it on one day to a young runner going into the future? Yet, rather than submit to despair in tracing the steps of my journey in an electronic bracelet, I found a renewed strength, a better understanding; not only of where I had been, but what lay beyond the wall.
Click here for excerpt from "BEYOND THE WALL: A Memoir"
Dolores E. Cross, Ph.D.,
Author of BEYOND THE WALL: A Memoir
Former university and college president
The photo on the cover of BEYOND THE WALL: A Memoir was taken by her daughter, Jane E. Cross, on July 23, 2007, the day the bracelet was removed.