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Day in The Life of A Remarkable Woman

by Laketa Lewis, Contributing Writer

It is 4:45 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and LaSonya Stovall, director of residential services at Savannah State University, is already up out of bed ready to start the day. Before she picks up her cell phone to check for missed calls and messages, wash her face, or brush her teeth, Stovall is down on her knees praying. After prayer, she goes to her closet to find the perfect outfit to tackle the day.

Today she chooses a green olive dress, a leopard print belt, a soft pink pearl necklace with matching bracelets on each wrist and four small diamond studs for the four piercings in her ear. A pink and green Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority purse that she received as a gift at a conference.

Stovall lives in Sand Fly, a five to 10 minute drive to SSU. She arrives at her office in Adams Hall by 7:30 a.m. and a pink and green sign on her office door reminds her of her breast cancer. “Cancer touched my breast,” the sign reads, “so I kicked its butt.”   She’s been in remission for five years.

More inspiration lies in the “Word for the Day” and “Our Daily Bread,” books she always has around her office. They kept her going during her fight with cancer. “I say it’s gone. It’s never coming back, or I will beat it again,” says Stovall.

Stovall has a master’s degree in Public Administration, with distinction, in 1999 from SSU.  At SSU, she’s a member of The Committee of 1000 and the Walls of Scholars; she’s a Gold Tiger, a Freshman Year Experience teacher and a chairperson for the homecoming committee.

Stovall’s office hops with the frogs, turtles, inspirational quotes, blue and orange spirit items and piles of paper work. The frogs symbolize the love Stovall has for her sorority AKA. The turtles are from her business sorority, Iota Phi Lambda.  At home, orange and blue butterfly magnets decorate her refrigerator; a pointing hand signals No. 1 and how much she loves SSU.

“In my spare time, I attend all of the sporting events. I go to the baseball games, football games, basically all the sports games,” she says.

People who don’t know Stovall might think that after housing assignments are finished at the beginning of the year, she can relax.  The reality is that she spends her days dealing with students who want to change rooms rooms, bug problems, broken furniture and fines for misbehavior.

This day, Stovall negotiates with Waffle House to persuade them to give students free waffles or discounts on meals. She’s also trying to talk the contractor who installed the new washers and dryers in the University Commons and Village into giving out free washing powder each month.  She started a program to let parents buy care packages for their children.

“I try to do this all day to benefit our students in any way possible,” says Stovall.  

The clock reaches 1 and Stovall heads to lunch. It is fried chicken Wednesday in the café, one of Stovall’s favorite days to eat on campus.

Leaving Adams Hall and walking through the circle, she all she sees, many of whom know her by name. She speaks to everyone.

In the cafeteria, Stovall greets the woman behind the serving line with “Hey, Ms. Jackie.” The woman loads Stovall’s tray with all of Stovall’s favorites. Today it’s two fried chicken breasts, mac and cheese and black-eyed peas.

When Stovall needs rice, she heads to Tiger Wok. “What are black eye peas without rice?” she asks.

Before Stovall gets her rice, she spies Vice President of Student Advancement Philip Adams. Standing with her lunch in her hands, she tells Adams about a student she got to know five years ago when she was a residence director.

The student has a mental illness, but he’s in school, she says. He has a $397 balance on his account and needs to clear that debt in order to stay in school.

“Everyday,” she adds, “The student comes to me and asks, ‘Has someone paid my bill yet?’  I say, ‘Not yet, but we will get it taken care of.’”

Adams nods with understanding and tells Stovall to send him the information, he will take care of it.

Solving money problems is not part of her job, but Stovall can’t help helping.

At 1:30, back in her office, Stovall finally eats lunch. She will spend the rest of her day with more problems and deals.

About 4:45 p.m., Monica Murchison-Battey drops in.  She’s 40 and a non-traditional student who graduated in 2004. “She kept me out of trouble and gave me advice,” Murchison-Battey says. “She was just Stovall. She was trustworthy and dependable.”

At 5 p.m., Stovall changes into her workout gear and goes walking on campus with two friends, also on the SSU staff. The trio usually does four miles in an hour and 20 minutes. Stovall has lost over 80 pounds walking.

At 7:15 p.m., it’s time to teach Freshman Year Experience. Today, she gives the class a tour of the campus, sharing her amazement at all the new dorms on campus.

At 8:45 p.m., Stovall packs her things into her tan Ford Expedition – its front bumper with a pink and green AKA sticker — and drives home.

Tonight is a no-dinner night. She had a big lunch so will snack on fresh fruit. After a shower, Stovall ends the day as it began, with a prayer. At 9:30 p.m., the lights go black. This remarkable woman has conquered another day.

A poem, given to her by a student, comes to mind to describe this student advocate. “You Are A Remarkable Woman,” by Susan Polis Schutz says: “You are a remarkable woman who accomplishes so much as a giving woman in a selfish world…. You are a remarkable woman and you are loved by so many people whose lives you have touched including mine.”

LaSonya Stovall, director of residential services at Savannah State University

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14 Responses to “Day in The Life of A Remarkable Woman”

  1. Monica Sherrod-Cummings says:

    Did LaSonya recently pass away?

    • Lakisha Mitchell says:

      Such a wonderful person who touched so many lives including my own. She will surely be missed especially at anything that has to do with SSU. May God grant her the rest she did not get on this earth and the peace that she always gave to others. Such a sweet angel that God gave to cover the lives of so many. RIP Sto!

  2. Dorietta Thomas says:

    So sad she was such a great person! She was always about helping when she could!! RIP Ms. Stovall! Praying for your family!!

  3. Angelia Shegog says:

    Stovall you will truly be missed. We love you. Your Lady Tigers.

  4. Lenisha says:

    Some people you never forget. Ms. Stovall is one of them. I am happy to know that she is still at Savannah State University and she is doing well. Much Love to you Ms. Stovall.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Thank God for your angel touching lives and influencing others. Thank you Lord for loaning the world such a beautiful gift.

  6. Georgia Banks says:

    What a beautiful synopsis of how Stovall spent her day. Yes, she was a person that got the job done. We really bonded during preparation for Iota’s 75th anniversary celebration. I will miss her on various committees and the events we attended. Rest in Peace my sweet Soror and thank you God for sharing her with us. Missed, but never forgotten.

    Georgia Banks

  7. Tamara Franco says:

    I will miss her dearly. She was one of the first persons I interacted with in 1991 as a Freshman. Always helped back when we were in the OLD GYM! Sweet spirit and a real fighter. Coming back to homecoming will not be the same anymore…We love you and miss you…Class of the OLD SAVANNAH STATE COLLEGE!

  8. Ms.Ann says:

    You will be miss. There will never be another LaSonya Stovall. Rest baby girl. Now when you rise in heaven, ask our father permission to walk the campus watch and help our children with him. Know that I that I LOVE YOU ! And there nothing you can still do about it!!

  9. Sharlonda Pierce says:

    As a nontraditional student and relocating from Wisconsin, she made my housing process effortless. A professional and kind woman who went over and beyond to help me, she will be missed.

  10. R.I.P. Stovall you will be greatly missed. You have left with me some wonderful moments of laughter, conversation, advice, and yes even tears. You let your light shine in ALL that you did & I know we will meet again in Heaven in due time. I love you now & forever. Your friend & Greek sister!

  11. Matthew Gunn says:

    Ms. Stovall was truly one of SSU finest! Stovall served SSU which so much passion and a tremendous amount of love for the students that were assigned to her each year. She was a great example, a encouraging voice, and a helping hand for so many. During my years at SSU made my journey so much easier and fulfilling with her help and guidance. Stovall was one of those SSU staff members that you always looked for each Homecoming. She will be greatly missed.

  12. Courtney "Monney" Holloway says:

    It touched me dearly when I found out that Ms. LaSonya Stow had passed. I remember the first time we met when I was moving into the Village in Summer 2008. She was fiery lol I said “she cool” and from that point on we have been cool ever since she always said “Courtney you being good” or “Mr. Holloway I seen that report…I everything comes to me” to “You finally made it through the long journey”. I will forever remember her and her brother Michael where ever one was at the other was near by. She was a great boss and an even better authority figure. I send my LOVE and blessings.

    CH

  13. Bernie Thomas says:

    Ms.Stovall was a phenomenal women, anything that she could do to help out she took the oppurtunity. I thank her for all that she has done for me.I remember how she got the baseball coach from FAMU all fired up ready to fight, smack talking with Ms.Anderson lol. Heaven has opened its gates and our father has said well done servant, sit down and rest. God needed it her more than we did. Love you Ms.Stovall