TEDxArcadiaUniversity Speaker: Bernie Wilson
Bernard Wilson grew up in the shadows of Temple University in North Philadelphia in the early 1950s. After having worn many different hats as clergy, professional musician, mental health worker, Federal Reserve Bank employee, general contractor and bartender, for the last eight years he has served as Adjunct English Professor at Arcadia University. Along the way, he developed his voice in writing and has found his work in magazines, newspapers and currently as contributor to the anthology of local memoirs entitled, “Philadelphia Stories.” Bernard was the first Washington Fellow from Temple University, where he graduated valedictorian as a non-traditional student in the college of education.
While all of these ventures have added to his appreciation for the value and complexities of life, it is his role as educator that is his greatest contribution to the world at large. He is passionate about the opportunity to work with young people and to challenge them to think deeply inside and outside the box. His mantra is “to question everything with respect and responsibility. That is the only way to get to the core of anything and to grasp a glimpse of what it might be like to be in someone else’s shoes.”
Most of all, he sees the commonality of all people as a uniting element that had been poorly treated by partisan efforts all around. “I try to make my students look for intrinsic similarities in the family of mankind, despite external variations.” Perhaps this career path was well modeled for him. His mother, the late Ruby M. Wilson, was one of the co-founders of the first Get-Set/Head Start centers in the state in the early 1960s.
“I wanted to have an opportunity to let each and every student who came into my room know I was as interested in their development as a person as I was in their ability to write a sentence or explicate a poem. I bring the voice of experience in things related to being alive on this planet, and try and help them find a way to add their own to the choir.”