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Pursuit of Happyness Movie has JCSU Connection

Pursuit of Happyness Movie has JCSU Connection
Posted By: Jehan Bunch on December 28, 2006

The Pursuit of Happyness Movie has JCSU Connections - December 15, 2006

When moviegoers watch Actor Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith play real life father and son team Christopher Gardner and Christopher Gardner Jr. on the big screen, they may not know that there is a Charlotte connection.

Christopher Gardner, whose life the film is based, served as Johnson C. Smith University’s 2003 Commencement speaker inside Cricket Arena. Gardner, president and CEO of Gardner Rich & Company, inspired graduates by telling his personal story about how he walked on a path from living in a subway restroom to becoming a millionaire. JCSU President, Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy, presented Gardner with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree for his commitment to using his life to add value to youth and communities across the country.



“Persistence – it’s what’s going to separate the guy that makes it from the guy who couldn’t,” he told the students. “I had no choice. So you can stay where you are or you can choose to rise. I chose to rise.”

The other Charlotte connection is that Christopher Gardner, Jr. attended JCSU for three years.

The movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” debuted December 15, in theatres across the nation. In the movie, Gardner is a bright and talented, but marginally employed salesman, according to the movie’s official website. Struggling to make ends meet, Gardner finds himself and his five-year-old son evicted from their San Francisco apartment with nowhere to go. When Gardner lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he and his son endure many hardships, including living in shelters, in pursuit of his dream of a better life for the two of them.

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Johnson C. Smith University 30th out of the 106 colleges in the south. This was an advance in the ranking by 15 places compared to last year’s list.
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