By Jessica Spencer

When speaker Betty Griffin took the stage Tuesday, she told the audience she was going to focus on the word. Griffin, president of the Griffin Group, a public speaking and human relations agency, used a concept she called WORD (women of real determination) to fuel her discussion during the lecture “Girl, you are black and female. We’ve got to talk about it!”

Griffin spoke to students about the opportunities and challenges in higher education.

“Stay focused and manage your time wisely.” she said. “And don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be anybody.”

Griffin also focused on shattered hopes, time management and coping with fatigue, fear of failure and racism.

“These lectures really open students’ eyes to the culture on campus,” said Kierra Joseph, a junior child and family studies major.

Griffin highlighted issues that affect black women in communities and schools. She also touched on actions both men and women need to take to earn a place in society, she said.

“This is a conversation that needs to be open on this campus,” said Shalise Saylor, a sociology major with a women’s studies minor. “Racism and sexism are a reality on this campus and hopefully this can help us cross those lines.”

Sophomore Liz Tipton, an elementary education major at Eastern, said Griffin was inspiring.

“She was very vibrant and passionate about every culture,” Tipton said.

Nate Arnett, a senior political science major, also approved of Griffin’s lecture. “She was a good motivational speaker,” added Nate Arnett, a senior political science major. “She talked about things that can hold you back and ways to overcome them and be successful.”

Students lingered after the lecture for the question-and-answer portion of the event.

“Students have been provided with opportunities to reflect on issues and questions that affect us as human beings living in a multi-ethnic and cultural communities, ” said Salome Nnoromele, director of African-American studies and professor in the department of English and theatre.

“Students have also been inspired to make better choices and to grow personally and professionally.”

This year’s lecture drew a crowd of more than 100 students and faculty members, topping the previous two lectures’ average of more than 70 attendees.

“These are the days of your life,” Griffin said as she concluded the lecture, “and you have but one life to live.