We are…living out dreams. We are Alcorn.

1 a Rayford Mullins 1

Lorman, Miss. (February 28, 2014) – We all have dreams. Some short-term and easy to achieve while others take time to reach fruition. In 1996, junior Stephanie Mullins dreamed of attending Alcorn State University. She worked hard, got good grades and earned a full ride. Raised in a low-income household in Holmes County, Mississippi, Stephanie knew that furthering her education was important and that this opportunity would ensure a stable future. Then, her senior year she became pregnant. This shook Stephanie’s world and forced her to choose – motherhood or college. She decided to turn down her scholarship to Alcorn and raise her child.

Fast forward. It’s 2011 and her son Rayford Mullins is now a junior at Durant High School. Just like his mother, Rayford is an excellent student. Stephanie shares her story with him for the first time and Rayford is immediately overcome. “I decided in that moment her sacrifice would not be in vain, that the dream she gave up for me would be fulfilled.”

Rayford worked hard, graduating number three in his class. In 2013, he enrolls at Alcorn.

“I enrolled because of my mother, but have fallen in love with this place for my own reasons.” Rayford loves that “people look out for each other, it’s like a family. My instructors are invested in me. There are also many opportunities here like the Study Abroad program.” Rayford is a member of the gospel choir, psychology club, honor student organization, debate team and a part of the Pre-Professional and Honors Curriculum Programs. He also works part-time off-campus.

Although a lot of her dreams have come true through her son, Stephanie never gave up on the life she wanted for herself. She eventually graduated from college and has been working as a nurse for over eight years. Just like his mother, Rayford also desires to help people and plans to become a doctor.

Stephanie says that every sacrifice she made for her son was worth it. “There were times when I thought as a single mother I couldn’t raise a strong, successful man, but Rayford has grown into an amazing individual and I am so proud of him.”

“I am who and where I am thanks to my mother. She basically put her dreams on hold for me and that is something that I can only repay by being the best that I can be and giving my all to the opportunity I have to attend college,” says Rayford.

We all have dreams. The path to achieving them isn’t always easy but a bump in the road doesn’t have to be the end of the road for what we’ve imagined for ourselves. For Stephanie, life happened and her dreams were delayed. But her dream deferred is now a goal accomplished thanks in part to her son Rayford.


Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships that benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation, and world.