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As a follow-up to the successful launch of Sankofa — an alumni-student mentoring initiative introduced by Student Opportunities and Achievement Resources (SOAR) to strengthen the connections between Black students and alumni — film producer, businessman, author, and alumnus BK Fulton '89 partnered with SOAR and the Office for Inclusion and Diversity to develop the Sankofa Business Alumnus in Residence program.

The theme of the program, which took place Oct. 6-8, was “Reaching Back to the Next Generation: The Inclusive VT Difference.” Said Fulton, “Each generation has an obligation to the ones coming after them and the ones who paved the way before them. It’s like a relay race and at some point, you will be handed the baton and we have to run our legs of the race. The question is are you advancing the good cause or standing in place.”

Fulton, who was the program’s first alumnus in residence, shared his blueprint for success, which was born out of a visit to Virginia Tech's Newman Library. In his words, that visit transformed him from a student who “looked at the world through a prism of sorrow” to one who began looking “at the world through the lens of achievement.”

BK Fulton and his wife Jacquelyn Stone speaking to students

As an African American student attending a mostly white school in the 1980s, Fulton had a difficult time finding his way. Growing up in Newport News, Virginia, Fulton was not familiar with the new experiences he encountered at Virginia Tech and found it difficult to keep up with his schoolwork. When he started receiving letters from the registrar’s office threatening probation, he knew he had to do something.

To try to “plan his escape from Virginia Tech,” Fulton went to the library to research life options and soon discovered books on Black history. The books inspired him, and he sought the advice of several trusted professors on how to become a better student. He started to get more engaged in what the university had to offer, he began surrounding himself with people who were only about excellence, and he focused on being the best version of himself.   

“Faith is the evidence of things not seen and the substance of things hoped for,” Fulton said. “I hope that my example leaves a visible and tangible record of what’s possible. For the first 50 years of my life, I did things I was trained to do, now I’m doing what I was made to do. The biggest battle is going from the person you are now to growing into the person you are supposed to be.”

BK Fulton and his wife Jacquelyn Stone with students

Fulton applauded the mentoring purpose of Sankofa. “I hope I’m an example,” Fulton said of being a role model. “I hope it’s not just an example for communities of color. I hope it’s an example of just being a good human being – and treating people the way you want to be treated.”  

Fulton is the founder of Soulidifly Productions, a feature film, stage, and TV investment and production company designed to promote a more inclusive narrative in major media. During his visit to the Virginia Tech campus, Fulton met with several student groups served by the Office for Inclusion and Diversity; the Creativity and Innovation District Living Learning Program, and the Pamplin College of Business, and screened two of his production company’s films, “Love Dot Com: The Social Experiment” and “One Angry Black Man.”

BK Fulton speaking at the Black Cultural Center
BK Fulton speaking at the Black Cultural Center

BK Fulton speaking at the Black Cultural Center

BK Fulton speaking at the Black Cultural Center
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