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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Journey to Nashville, TN for Chips Quinn Scholars (CQS) Orientation

What's on My Mind Today:  Starting today I will outline my daily activities and experiences while in Nashville.  While I knew the Chips Quinn Scholars (CQS) was an amazing program, I didn't get the full grasp until I arrived to meet some very special people.

My day actually started out at 3:30 a.m. as I prepared to leave by finishing the laundry and ironing my husband's clothes for the time I will be gone.  I also fixed us steak and eggs for breakfast. 

Ultimately, everything was smooth sailing to get here, especially the landings of the pilots at US Airways!  I never could tell we had touched down, which I truly appreciated! 

The only near debacle was when Harold, the driver from Grayline, gave my luggage to someone else! In Harold's defense, the gentleman just glanced and pointed out my bag as his own.  Luckily the man, with the Australian accent, was at the wrong hotel and called for pick-up right when we discovered he had the wrong bag.  The situation was quickly alleviated by Harold, as he dropped the other customer off at the correct Best Western with the correct luggage and then returned me and my belongings to Embassy Suites Vanderbilt. "That is the first time in two years I gave the wrong luggage away," said Harold as I entered the hotel. 
The John Seigenthaler Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University houses the Freedom Forum, First Amendment Center and Diversity Institute.  This is where the summer class of CQS will use the state of the are newsroom, classrooms and library and become CQS!

Chips Quinn was the son of Loie and John Quinn, the founders of the CQS program, named for their son, a journalist who was unexpectedly killed in an accident.  Chips Quinn was a young editor at the Poughkeepsie Journal when he was killed, but prior to his death, "Chips accepted all people," said R. B. Quinn, his brother, in the information on how the program began. 

I think it is amazing how Loie and John Quinn turned the tragic loss of their son into a program that incorporates John Quinn's longtime work with newsroom diversity to help new journalists of color. 

John Quinn, a former journalist, spoke of our entering into his family and fulfilling a legacy.  It was not only the speech that moved me, it was the personal greeting at the door and references he made to each of the 23 summer CQS.  He took time to get to know us, even before our arrival.  John Quinn is 76 and traveled from Providence, R.I. to meet us.  His charm, humor and dedication to journalism are contagious.

We met staff of CQS, Freedom Forum and Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University, as well as the summer class of "Chipsters" as we are affectionately called by John Quinn. The staff emulates the same dedication of John Quinn.  

The days are full of learning on a VERY tight schedule, but I am so excited to get started.  I thank God; everyone at CQS, especially Karen Catone and Jack Marsh; and Debra Adams Simmons, editor of The Plain Dealer  and my journalism professors at Cleveland State University for making this opportunity possible for me--I will not let you down!



  1. Great! Enjoy the workshop. Have fun too. Post some pics.

  2. I will...and I will have pics up later today!