On Sunday, October 4, Imani Milliones-Roman was crowned Miss Lincoln University 2015-2016 in the school’s International Cultural Center.
The historically black university’s coronation comes after a lengthy selection process and pageant, including areas where she was judged on oratory skills, talent, evening gown, student vote and an interview. Milliones-Roman’s versatility and positive spirits put her ahead of the pack. For her talent, she performed a piano medley including Beethoven, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith, and Forever Jones.
Her platform as Miss Lincoln University is clear. In Swahili, Imani means “faith”. She plans to remain genuine, and wants fellow students to have “faith” in her.
From there, Milliones-Roman created an acronym for her name’s meaning. FAITH stands for Finding ourselves, Achieving academic success, Interacting with the Community, Time management, and Humbling ourselves. According to Milliones-Roman, those are the essentials to the college student experience at Lincoln.
“I care about their journey and I want them to be involved in mine, “ said Milliones-Roman about the 1600 student body. “The goal is four years. Although we are only here for four years, essentially, we are preparing for the rest of our lives,” said Milliones-Roman.
The 21-year-old indicates three things to her undergraduate collegiate success; family, early education, and financial aid.
Locally, the name Milliones rings many bells. Milliones-Roman’s grandparents, Margaret and Jake Milliones, whom she’s never met, were former school board directors, educators, and activists.
“I feel like having the name Milliones in Pittsburgh prepared me. Everyone knew my family and I was well taken care of. Those connections and networking really helped with my social life.”
Her grade schooling also played a significant role. In 2012, Milliones-Roman was a part of the first graduating class of Pittsburgh Barack Obama Academy of International Studies. Pittsburgh Obama is where she says she was best prepared for college, with most credit going to Assistant Superintendent and Principal Wayne Walters. “Dr. Walters opened up my eyes to a lot of things culturally, socially, and academically,” said Milliones-Roman.
From paying for her black college tour to traveling abroad, Milliones-Roman said, “Pittsburgh Public Schools prepared me. Because of the International Baccalaureate program, my first year of college was a piece of cake. Some of my counterparts were struggling in classes where I was like ‘this is easy’.”
Like thousands of other Pittsburgh Public Schools graduates, Milliones-Roman was eager to take advantage of the Pittsburgh Promise when she headed to the southeast college. “The Pittsburgh Promise is the reason why I am not in debt. I have no student loans,” said Milliones-Roman.
The Pittsburgh Promise is a last-dollar scholarship to qualifying Pittsburgh Public Schools students that provides a maximum scholarship amount of $30,000. “I am eternally grateful for the Promise. We depend on that for our education.”
Surrounded with lots of love and support, Milliones-Roman has advice for every young girl: “Anybody can be me! I haven’t done anything unreachable. My dreams became reality because I had people around me who believed in me. Pittsburgh has the same resources, you just have to take full advantage of it.”
Upon graduation, Milliones-Roman plans to attend graduate school majoring in educational leadership.