West Point couple donates priceless treasures to University Archives and Special Collections

West Point Couple donates priceless treasures to University Archives and Special Collections

Library couple's donation 

Little did Charles and Tamara Ivy know that a stop at Sterling’s Antique shop in Chickasaw County would uncover Alcorn treasures from the past. The couple stopped at the shop hoping to find bric-a-brac for their home, but found two well preserved pieces of Alcorn’s history among the shop’s wares – a framed degree dating back to 1924 and a Clarion Ledger news clipping from 1961, also framed.

“The degree once belonged to an Alcornite by the named R. M. Mackey,” explained Mr. Ivy. “He attended the university from 1922 to 1924, then¬ it was Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College.”

The degree was a vocational certification in agriculture signed by university president of the time Levi John Rowan. The news clipping “First College Diplomas To Both Whites and Negroes At Chapel” chronicles Alcorn’s history, stating that the university was the first institution of higher learning to issue college diplomas to both whites and blacks in the State of Mississippi.

Surprisingly, these treasures only cost the Ivy’s ten dollars each, but they immediately knew their significance and wanted both pieces to come home to Alcorn for future generations to enjoy.

“With this month being Black History Month, we really knew the university would appreciate the gift,” Mr. and Mrs. Ivy exclaimed. Along with their generous donation, the Ivy family has committed to recruit students to become a part of the Alcorn family.

“What is unique about this story is that the Ivy’s are not alums of Alcorn, but realized the history that lies beneath the shades of those giant trees,” said Dr. Blanche Sanders, dean of University Libraries.

“Alcorn stands as a prominent and distinctive historical institution that emphasizes intellectual development and lifelong learning through the integration of diverse pedagogies, applied and basic research, cultural and professional programs, public service and outreach, while providing access to globally competitive academic and research programs.”

Dr. Sanders added that the university’s archival collection is slowly growing and expanding as others have made donations and more historic pieces are being recovered. Every effort is being made to preserve these priceless treasures for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

Both pieces can be viewed in the J. D. Boyd Library’s University Archives and Special Collections located on the second floor. For more information on these pieces or Alcorn history, please contact Joanna Williams, archivist assistant at 601.877.2359.

Pictured L to R: Mr. Ivy, Mrs. Ivy and Dr. Sanders.