Maryville College graduate makes great strides

Colber Prosper stands next to a poster about his new book “No Entry” at the Blount County Public Library, where a talk about the book was held on September 4th.

Colber Prosper, a Maryville College graduate and thought leader in the world of social justice, returned to his college roots on Sept. 7 to promote and sign his new book “No Entry” at Southland Books and Cafe.

Prosper has achieved much in his life after Maryville College. In his career, Prosper has founded the global consulting firm Prosper & Partners LLC., has become a lead trainer and consultant for CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America)—his role in which has led him to trips to Haiti and South Africa—and is currently a professor at the University of the District of Columbia. For Prosper, the liberal arts education provided at Maryville College laid a foundation for his success.

“No Entry” focuses on overcoming discrimination in the class system, and is relatable to Maryville College students, as it includes many strategies of higher-level thinking.

“When you read the book, it has liberal arts all over it. I’m using different disciplines, different theories in the book, and it wasn’t really hard to write it because Maryville College prepared me, you know?” said Prosper. “So this is me trying to do good on the biggest scale I can, as Isaac Anderson says. And Maryville College prepares you to think, to be active citizens, to be good people, and it’s a really good school for that.”

At Maryville College, Prosper graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, but claims this was not his original plan. During his time as a college student, he was able to find a purpose by exploring different courses, extracurriculars, and by looking within himself. Prosper’s former advisor at Maryville College, Dr. Nancy Locklin-Sofer, was able to observe the evolution of Prosper’s interests.

“I remember he organized a panel discussion for BSA and invited me to be involved. He did his thesis with me and he was so much fun to work with,” said Locklin-Sofer.

“I have a very clear memory of him in a history class—we were covering the Haitian Revolution in 1791—and he started comparing elements to the American and French revolutions we had already covered. I thought ‘Look out! Colber is figuring out the formula for a revolution.’”

In many ways, Maryville College provides available space for students to reach a deeper understanding of, not only their discipline, but life, as well.

“I mean, if you look up ‘21st century skills’, a liberal arts education is part of that. It’s thinking, strategizing, thinking for yourself, being creative, brainstorming. I work in various spaces, and I feel like I’m able to do that because of my Maryville College education,” said Prosper.

“College is a great way and a great space to explore your identities and what those identities mean to you and what those identities mean to society,”

“So for me when I was at Maryville, I spent a lot of time doing my research in my classes, understanding black history, understanding American history, and because I’m Haitian-American, understanding Haitian history. I spent a lot of time using my papers and assignments to focus on things where I could learn more about myself.”

“A strong general education won’t lead everyone directly to a career but it will offer a chance to see the world from a different perspective, and that always creates a richer understanding,” added Locklin-Sofer.

“No Entry” tackles the complex system in which our ability to succeed is interconnected. “The short version is that the book is about how our potentials are connected and how do we, as a tribe, as a village, know and be aware that there are powers going completely against us and [how are we] able to get at that more strategically,” said Prosper.

Hoping to gain footing in a competitive market, Prosper felt that the Maryville area was a solid candidate to promote his book.

“Maryville, that’s where I went to school, that’s where I really started my official justice work. That’s where I have a lot of support and a lot of people who I’m very close to, so for me, it made sense to go there,” said Prosper.

“Not only symbolically because this is where it all started for me, but from a business standpoint, [as well]. This is where I have full support and the largest network that sees me as a thought leader, a businessperson, an academic, as an educator, you know?”.

Prosper continues to inspire his students at the University of the District of Columbia. Most recently, Prosper has traveled to Dubai and plans to travel to Uganda for business. “No Entry” can be purchased online at Amazon.com.

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