Paula Dow challenges 'children of promise'
Students (from left) Kareem Gifford '14, Cindy Rodriguez '15, Angelik Cruz '15 chat with former New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow before her talk. (Photo by Jenny Connell)
By Kenna Caprio
Speaking to students, faculty, staff and guests at the College at Florham, Paula Dow put forth a challenge of sorts: “Life’s most persistent question is — what are you doing for others?”
The former New Jersey Attorney General was invited to speak on Fairleigh Dickinson University’s topic for Black History Month, a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., “whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
Though she admitted at the beginning of her talk that those words are “frankly, a little overwhelming, even if they come from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Dow encouraged students to pay attention to the “rights that we so take for granted.”
Paraphrasing a speech that Bill Clinton delivered in Memphis in 1993, Dow asked, “How would we be graded today? What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say?”
Using a stack of books including “Children of Promise,” “Eyes on the Prize,” “A Glass Half Full,” and the U.S. Bill of Rights, Dow spoke to challenges faced today, local barriers and global shortfalls. She encouraged her audience to consider the “social dysfunction of the lower echelon” and to think about doing better for the next generation.
Dow was one of the first Cabinet appointments announced by Governor Chris Christie. She served as attorney general for two years, stepping down on December 31, 2011. She is currently serving as Senior Counsel for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Her presentation was sponsored by FDU's Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program, the Dean of Students Office and the Diversity Council.