Alcorn celebrates 146 years of excellence at annual Founder’s Day Convocation

Reflecting on the greatness of Alcorn State University was the theme of this year’s annual recognition of the University’s founding.

Faculty, staff, students and alumni gathered Wednesday, Oct. 4 at the Oakland Memorial Chapel to celebrate 146 years of excellence at Alcorn’s 2017 Founder’s Day Convocation. Two esteemed Alcorn alumnae, Dr. Linden Smith Haynes and Attorney Kimberly Walker Nailor, delivered powerful keynote speeches that resonated with the audience.

Haynes, a Leakesville, Mississippi native and 1965 graduate, currently serves as an advisor for pre-health students and teaches nutrition and anatomy and physiology at Tougaloo College. She contributes annually to the ASU Foundation, and is a member of the Utica Chapter of the Alcorn National Alumni Association, the Metro-Jackson Chapter and the National Alumni Association.

Nailor, a Vicksburg, Mississippi native who graduated from Alcorn in 2003, is a drug court public defender for the Ninth Judicial District Drug Court, which includes Warren, Issaquena and Sharkey counties. She remains committed to public service and volunteers her time by serving on the Board of Directors for the Child and Parent Center of Vicksburg and United Way of West Central Mississippi.

Haynes gave a joyful speech about the quality education the University offered, being the favorite student of one of Alcorn’s most recognized former leaders and her time as a student on campus.

“I have so many fund memories of Alcorn,” said Haynes. “The education I received here is second to none. I always get excited when I get ready to tell people about Alcorn. I had great teachers, and one of them was Dr. Norris Edney. I was one of his favorite students because I did a good job in his classes. I made lifelong friends here; we would hang out in the dormitories and cafeteria. We always knew were each other were. We established a legacy here at Alcorn.”

Nailor encouraged the audience to always press on and follow their goals, no matter what obstacles may arise.

“It is not what you achieve in life, but it is what you overcome,” said Nailor. “That’s going to be the key to your success in your future career. In life, you must learn how to work hard and persevere in spite of obstacles, whether it’s financial, health or personal. Everyone is going to go through a different struggle, but you have to be strong enough to overcome those hurdles.”

Josephine Posey, University historian, provided highlights on how far Alcorn has come to reach the level of excellence it has today.

“Alcorn has struggled against great odds,” said Posey. “In spite of the struggles, history shows that Alcorn has succeeded. Alcorn is continuing to succeed 146 years later. Alcorn has continued to exemplify its distinct heritage.”

President Alfred Rankins Jr. closed the program by encouraging the students to find their purpose in life.

“I challenge all of the students to figure out what you want your legacy to be once you leave Alcorn,” said Rankins. “Know what role you will play in making this state, country and world a better place. You are getting the tools here to make a difference. Your time here is very valuable, so always remember that you are here to get an education so that you can change the world.”