For my mentor.
Bernie Wynder was a mentor, an advisor, a supporter, but most importantly a friend. He single handedly changed the lives of many minority students at Frostburg. It did not matter who you were, if you needed help, you had a friend in Bernie. I came to Frostburg in the fall of 2009, as an eager pre-law student from Prince George’s County. Sadly, I “enjoyed” my first semester of college so much that it landed me on academic probation. My freshman advisor told me that “college was not for me, and I should consider other options.” It seemed as though the dreams I had of going to law school were out the window, until I met Mr. Wynder. A friend of mine told me to go speak with him, so he can “help me get my life together,” that’s exactly what I did. The first thing Bernie told me when I was in his office was “I believe in you!” He was the first person at FSU to tell me that he believed in my dreams of becoming a lawyer, becoming the president of an on campus organization, and joining a fraternity. He told me everyone deserves a chance, no matter where they come from. Mr. Wynder watched me transform from a freshman on academic probation, to a Dean’s List senior who fulfilled his dreams of being the president of two on campus organizations, joining a fraternity, and applying to law schools. Bernie believed in me when nobody else did, and I am eternally grateful for that. He taught me to be productive, think smart, and never forget about the people who are coming behind you. The most important thing is lifting up our people and teaching them to be great. His support for the NAACP (Frostburg State University and Allegheny County Chapter) as well as the other minority organizations on campus was phenomenal.
If I could talk to Mr. Wynder one last time I would keep it short, and say “Thank you for not giving up on me, even when I had given up on myself” and I know exactly how he would respond, “No problem Jason, I knew you could do it, I knew you had it in you all along brotha.” We may have lost a friend, but heaven just got a damn good angel. Thank you for everything Mr. Wynder, words cannot express our gratitude. We love you!