TSU alum sets philanthropic initiative with Mama Said book

Cornelia Wills

Cornelia Wills

Inspired to chronicle the childhood lessons she still holds so dear, Dr. Cornelia Wills decided to launch an exciting new philanthropic initiative to benefit students. She will donate a portion of the proceeds received from sales of her newly released book, Mama Said: A Word to the Wise is Sufficient, to benefit the scholarship fund at her alma mater, Tennessee State University.

Wills, who works in the area of student success, said she is aware and troubled that some students have to drop out of college because they don’t have enough money to stay. To help address this issue, she decided to launch this new philanthropic initiative by using sales from her book to help keep students in school. She said she is “blessed to be a blessing.

The Tennessee resident and Alabama native will be autographing copies of her new Mama Said book at two book signings during the TSU Homecoming festivities this month. Wills will be autographing copies of her new book from 1-3 pm on Friday, September 26, and 10 am-3 pm on Saturday, September 27 at the TSU Floyd-Payne Campus Center Bookstore, 3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard, in Nashville.

The book contains a collection of wisdom nuggets learned while growing up in rural Alabama under the watchful care of her late mother, Rosa Lee Wills.
“My mother was always giving to help others, and this would be a wonderful way to honor her memory,” said Wills. “When applied, the wisdom garnered from the Mama Said book helps to effectively navigate life. It deals with ‘takers’ and other issues such as relationships, friendship, trust, morals, finances, time management, procrastination, honesty, and humbleness, just to name a few.”

At 114 pages, the book is a quick read and carries much wisdom through its sayings, some of which might be familiar. For example, words of caution include “watch the dog that brings you the bone” or “feed ‘em out of a long-handled spoon.” When dealing with takers, the book reminds us, “don’t ride a free horse to death,” or “Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile.” One of the quainter sayings, “You’re just fattening frogs for snakes,” is one that Wills recommends you avoid doing, particularly as it relates to dating and relationships.

Each saying is followed by an interpretation of its meaning based on the context in which it was said. The words are as meaningful today as they were in past years, Wills said.

Wills received her undergraduate degree from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, and her Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Educational Administration from Tennessee State University in Nashville.

She has been many ‘firsts’ in her career and has won many regional and state awards for products provided by her office under her leadership. She often tells students, “Don’t let where you came from dictate where you’re going.”

It is strong faith and family support that Wills credits with giving her the confidence to publish her book.

In addition to providing readers with a favorable trip down memory lane with references to many of the ‘ole school’ sayings that many of us grew up with, the books make wonderful gifts for all occasions.

Dr. Wills recommends this wisdom be used in everyday life and be taught to children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and on through the generations. Much of this wisdom is being lost from our culture, she says, adding that she wants to maintain it to help both the current and future generations. Her book, intended to be a keepsake, is one way to do it.

“We should remember that success is not always measured in dollars and cents. It goes much deeper. I want to pass on the wisdom from lessons learned that has helped me tremendously through the years to either avoid or successfully navigate some of the pitfalls of life. I am anxious to share this wisdom with others,” Wills said.

If unable to attend the book signing, copies are available by calling toll free 1-866-909-2995. They are also available by special order at your favorite Barnes & Noble and LifeWay Christian Stores, through the author’s online bookstore at xulonpress.com, Amazon.com and several other national and international online outlets by searching for the book’s title and author. A limited number of autographed copies are available by contacting the author directly at cwillscw1@gmail.com
Wills said that she hopes everyone will support this worthwhile cause.

“If each person would get at least one copy of the book, it could make a huge difference for our students, who otherwise might not be able to fulfill their dreams,” said Wills.