Victorious Victoria Boman
Good fortune pursues Stillman College Admissions Director Victoria Boman. Opportunity seems to always be nipping at her heels. Although pundits say that luck follows the well prepared, even when Boman was very young and occasionally unprepared, blessings seemed to track her down.
In her senior year of high school, when a friend asked, “Will you enter the Miss Midfield High School pageant with me,” Boman went along just for the fun of it. Near the end of the pageant, after all of the contestants had performed, she recalls that she was sitting in a chair swinging her feet when she was pronounced the winner.
“I was so shocked that I came onto the stage from the side of the curtain –not where I was supposed to enter. I didn’t expect to win because the title had always gone to a head cheerleader or a majorette. I was the first African American to be named Miss Midfield High School,” says Boman, who, from that point on, was seldom without a crown.
After high school, she attended Stillman. And true to her name, which means victory, she continued to win titles in college. But while winning her first pageant may have been a fluke, she was considerably more prepared for subsequent competitions. In 1997, she joined Sophistication Unlimited. As a member of this dynamic modeling troupe, she developed poise and confidence and began to manifest the Stillman Persona. She was named Miss Sophomore, Miss Sophistication Unlimited and, eventually, Miss Stillman 2000-2001.
Sophistication Unlimited advisor Dr. Sharon Whittaker-Davis, who was her “mom away from home,” helped Boman to develop a regal attitude worthy of the crown. “She taught us the importance of realizing who you are and being true to yourself. She taught us not to try to be anyone else, and to have confidence but not arrogance.”
“Some people think that the Stillman Persona, or being a Stillman Woman, is about the way you dress. Yes, you are expected to be appropriate, but it is not all about clothing. Being a Stillman Woman is about respect—not only for self, but for others. It’s about being accountable to one another and making sure you lead by example,” Boman states. “It is not out of place to let a fellow students know ‘You can do this.’ When I was a student here, I know that some people went to tutoring because I was going to tutoring. Students influence each other. So you’re not loud talking. You’re not cursing. You’re not out in your house shoes and a headscarf. It’s also about personality. You’re not nasty. You need to be beautiful on the inside and outside, and lead by example.”
Conducting herself with dignity and class has definitely worked for Boman. Everywhere she sets her foot, she seems to reap blessings. In her senior year at Stillman, her first professional job found her. “I wasn’t even looking for a job. Miss (Jaqueline) Currie arranged a big career fair, and I went because Regions Bank was there offering a special deal. They would deposit twenty dollars in your account if you signed up to bank with them. I was standing in line and a woman from the Board of Education, who was at a table next to the bank’s table, asked me to see her when I was done. I initially planned to go to law school, but when I went to her table, she interviewed me on the spot.” A second interview with the Board of Education was promptly arranged, and Boman was offered a teaching position.
Boman is not sure why she was singled out. “I had on a suit. That was my nature. Miss Stillman couldn’t wear jeans back then,” she says. While her professional attire may have made her stand out, her poise, confidence, and joyful smile, which was captured so beautifully in Ebony Magazine’s April 2001 Campus Queen’s issue, probably didn’t hurt.
Her second professional job came to her in an equally fortuitous manner. “A friend who wanted to work in college recruiting invited me to come along for a group interview for prospective college admissions recruiters. We both went and, afterwards, they called and offered me the position,” said Boman, who accepted the offer.
She loved being a college recruiter. However, despite her amazing knack for being perpetually in the right place at the right time, at recruiting fairs she kept feeling as though she were standing at the wrong table. Boman would find herself gravitating toward the Stillman booth, and urging prospective students to visit her beloved alma mater. She knew that she needed to return to Stillman. She wanted to “give back” by helping the College to meet its goals. Naturally, a position for an Admissions Director opened and she was hired in 2010.
“I love seeing all the ‘babies’ coming down the hall. I love having the opportunity to share my story with them, and give them the type of support that I received when I was a student. I know they have busy social lives, but I remind them they are able to do it all and still excel academically. We used to stand in line for a computer when I was a student. We didn’t even have a football team; that was just starting the year I graduated. We didn’t have half of what we have today. The campus stopped at the Wynn Fine Arts Center. Yet it felt big to us. We knew what student life was about. We went out and we did things on our own. If we wanted a new organization, we would write the constitution and make it happen.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Stilllman. I grew, matured and developed life-long relationships with both my peers and my instructors, and I was extremely well-prepared for graduate school,” says Boman, whose office in the Hay College Center is covered with family photos and Stillman memorabilia, including a news clip with President McNealey at her Miss Stillman coronation.
Although she acknowledges that her good fortune is uncanny, Boman believes that preparation trumps luck. “It’s about being prepared,” she says. “Students today have everything at their fingertips. There is no excuse not to be prepared.”
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