Click through the Instagram post below to hear from Cam.
Student-athlete Cameron Robinson came to Vanderbilt in 2017, earning academic honors and the respect and love of his Commodores football teammates with his joyful and sincere personality. Early in his undergraduate path, the Mobile, Alabama, native felt a higher calling—and set his sights on Vanderbilt Divinity School.
“I answered the call to ministry as an undergrad, and it was one of those things that I had to wrestle with because I was like, ‘Who’s going to listen to me?’ But God continued to confirm and to reassure me that I was right where I needed to be,” Robinson said. “All I had to do was just have a little bit of faith and a little bit of trust. And it’s shifted the trajectory of my life.”
Robinson is set to earn a master of divinity with a specialty in Black church studies. He also has an interest in combining his ministry with social and racial justice work, which is part of the DNA of the Divinity School.
“I knew when I was young I wanted to be a great leader, and I wanted to help people. And the best leaders are those who are the best learners,” he said.
Robinson, who earned a degree in medicine, health and society in 2021, had had childhood dreams of going into medicine.
“But when God gave me the call, it was one of those things where, ‘Okay, you might be calling me into a different type of healing,’” Robinson said, laughing.
Robinson knows how tough it can be to juggle academic challenges with competing as an athlete in the SEC. That’s why he is mentoring student-athletes as a graduate fellow with the Office of Student-Athlete Development within the Ingram Center for Student-Athlete Success.
“Mentoring is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had because I’ve lived that student-athlete grind of playing football and waking up at 5:30 a.m. and then going to class and then having to study after you get out of practice. Time management doesn’t even begin to explain it,” he said.
“I’m grateful because it made me the man that I am today. And so, getting a chance to help guys who are in that position now—pouring back into the next generation of student-athletes—is something that I’m passionate about.”
Coming to Music City was a perfect fit for Robinson because of his love of singing and songwriting. During COVID, when some classes were moved online, Robinson was able to make soulful collaborations through a Blair School of Music songwriting class that connected Vanderbilt students with a conservatory in Australia.
“One of my favorite sayings is that music travels farther and faster than any other art form,” he said.
He is also a minister of music at the North Nashville church he joined early in his undergraduate career.
Beyond his parents and grandparents, the people he says are his strongest mentors and support network are the community of Lee Chapel AME Church and the Commodores team chaplain.
“I knew I made the right decision as soon as I stepped onto this campus. And I made sure that every step that I took when I was on campus was going to be a step of change, integrity, excellence—all of the above—to make sure that this experience would be one for a lifetime,” Robinson said.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR TIME HERE?
“COVID was one of the big defining factors of my journey here at Vanderbilt because there was so much going on beyond the medical aspect of things, with the Black Lives Matter movement, the George Floyd protests and a pivotal presidential election that year. I helped lead a voter registration drive inside Vanderbilt Stadium with the Black Student Athlete Group and other student groups. That was history-making for our campus.”
WHAT DOES ‘DARE TO GROW’ MEAN TO YOU?
“I remember when I first heard the motto. And to me, one of the things I was reflecting on is that Vanderbilt is intentional about creating a space where you are expected to grow, you are expected to flourish. You’re not expected to leave here the same person you were when you came.”
“I envision the Vanderbilt community as a garden—or like fertile soil, in a sense, in which if you do what you need to do, if you put in the time, if you put in the water, if you invest in yourself and in this community, then I believe that you’re going to grow.”
“Vanderbilt is a place that has allowed me to grow into who I’ve always wanted to be. Vanderbilt is a place that has allowed me to be that change that I wish to see.”
Watch “Four with a ‘Dore” below to hear more from Cam.
- See more stories from the Class of 2024
- Learn more about Vanderbilt Divinity School
- Learn more about the medicine, health, and society major within the College of Arts and Science
- See how student-athletes are supported by the Ingram Center for Student-Athlete Success
- Listen to an original song written by Cam and a student in Australia during an online Blair School of Music songwriting class