What Does Success Look Like To You? – Stuart Robinson NYU

What Does Success Look Like To You? – Stuart Robinson NYU

Stuart Robinson NYU is an accomplished educator, coach, and advocate known for his unwavering commitment to education and youth empowerment. Raised in Harlem, New York City, his transformative journey led him from public schools to prestigious institutions like Williams College and Middlebury College. Stuart’s career spans roles in admissions, coaching, and leadership at various educational institutions, culminating in his last position as Assistant VP for Student Affairs/Director of Athletics at NYU. As a single adoptive father of five boys, he passionately creates opportunities for underserved children. Stuart’s story is a testament to the transformative power of education and mentorship in empowering communities.

Q&A with Stuart Robinson NYU:

Can you describe your early experiences in education and how they influenced your academic journey?

Stuart Robinson: My educational journey began in Harlem, New York City, where I attended public schools until the sixth grade. That pivotal year, I transferred to the Allen Stevenson School on the Upper East Side, a move driven by the desire for a more challenging academic environment. It was a significant change that not only tested me academically but also introduced me to organized sports. Truth be told, the journey began in the first grade, but it took until the sixth grade that my mother found a school that would accept me. My mother was persistent and driven to find the right school. 

How did your family’s commitment to education shape your perspective on its importance?

Stuart Robinson: My family’s dedication to education was unwavering. I grew up with one sister and a brother, and all three of us became the first in our family to attend college and earn Master’s degrees. Our mother instilled in us the belief that education was a priceless gift, something no one could ever take away. This belief became a driving force in my life, inspiring me to pursue academic excellence and help others access educational opportunities beyond their expectations.

Could you share your notable achievements during your college years, especially at Williams College and Middlebury College?

Stuart Robinson: Absolutely. At Williams College, I graduated with honors in African American Literature. During my time there, I was actively involved in leadership roles, serving as the President of the Student Council and President of the Junior Advisors. I also explored sports, participating in JV soccer and Varsity baseball for a year. I even was involved in starting a club baseball team during my junior and senior year.  My commitment to diversity in education further blossomed at Middlebury College. I worked as a waiter in the school dining hall to help fund my education, and the experience taught me the value of listening and learning from diverse perspectives. It was at Middlebury where I delivered the student commencement speech, titled “Dancing without Collisions,” advocating for diversification within the student population. I enjoyed my time at Middlebury, but I also discovered that there was room to grow in that regard.

Your career spans various roles in education and athletics. Could you highlight some key experiences and insights gained along the way?

Stuart Robinson: My career journey has been incredibly fulfilling. I’ve served as an Assistant Director of Admissions with a focus on minority recruitment at Vassar College and also held the role of Advisor to Minority Students. Coaching has been a significant part of my path, where I’ve had the privilege of coaching soccer at several institutions. Beyond these roles, I’ve been actively involved in educational initiatives, such as the AnBryce Scholars Program at NYU, advocating for opportunities for underserved students. Another initiative I’m proud of is the partnership with the McLendon Leadership Institute that I launched at NYU, which opened doors for young people of color looking to enter the world of athletics.

You’re known as a single adoptive father of five boys. Could you shed light on your passion for creating opportunities for underserved children?

Stuart Robinson: I had been involved in education for quite some time before I started to think about adopting.  I realized that I spent so much time advising and supporting students within schools that I decided to share my knowledge and experiences with children who did not have easy access to such support. My role as a father to my sons has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My commitment to creating opportunities for underserved children extends beyond my professional life; it’s a deeply personal mission. While the journey hasn’t always been smooth, the lessons I’ve learned from my children and the priceless moments spent with them I believe have made me even more effective as a professional. .

Coaching has been a significant aspect of your career, marked by accolades like Coach of the Year awards. Can you share your coaching philosophy and what motivates you in this role?

Stuart Robinson: Coaching, to me, is synonymous with teaching values like teamwork, perseverance, dedication and excellence. It’s not just about winning games but about fostering personal growth and development. The accolades, such as Coach of the Year awards, are a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the teams I’ve had the privilege to coach. What motivates me as a coach is the opportunity to help young athletes not only excel on the field but also grow as individuals off it.

You’ve faced challenges related to race and personality in your career. How have you navigated these challenges, and what strategies have you employed to overcome them?

Stuart Robinson: Challenges have manifested in various forms, from questions about my racial identity to misconceptions about my reserved personality. To navigate these hurdles, I’ve adopted a deliberate and thoughtful approach, prioritizing listening and analyzing situations before responding. I’ve also held people accountable to group standards while striving to build deeper connections. Engaging more with people socially and sharing more about myself has been instrumental in overcoming these challenges. Being open, despite the inherent risks, is an integral part of personal and professional growth. Such an approach does not always work, but it does allow me to maintain a perspective that benefits many of the people with whom I work.

What advice would you offer to aspiring leaders and advocates in the fields of education and athletics?

Stuart Robinson: My advice would be to embrace servant leadership, where the focus is on others. Prioritize listening before taking action, and commit to continuous learning and growth. Seek mentors who challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and maintain a thirst for knowledge. Leadership in these fields revolves around empowering individuals to achieve their goals, which can be immensely rewarding.

Finally, what does success look like to you? 

Stuart Robinson: Personally, success is about helping others achieve goals and objectives they might have deemed unattainable. It’s the empowerment of individuals to find their voices and reach their full potential. Success isn’t confined to personal achievement; it’s about making a positive impact on the lives of others, and that, to me, is the ultimate measure of success.

Key Takeaways

  • Stuart Robinson emphasizes the importance of servant leadership, urging aspiring leaders to prioritize others and continuous learning.
  • He believes success is measured by empowering individuals to achieve their full potential, leaving a positive impact on their lives.
  • Stuart’s journey underscores the transformative power of education and mentorship in shaping lives and building inclusive communities.