Myrlie Evers speaks responsibility to graduates at Alcorn State University

Alcorn State, Miss. (May 10, 2014) – Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence Myrlie Evers’ graceful voice and words of empowerment instilled a sense of history and responsibility to all gathered in the Davey L. Whitney HPER Complex to celebrate Alcorn State University’s Class of 2014 at the 143rd Commencement Convocation, concluding a week of celebrations for Alcorn graduates, May 5-10.

Keynote speaker Evers, Civil Rights legend and former NAACP chairman who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the ceremony, told graduates about their responsibility to Alcorn, society and those who have paved the way to ensure that they could “walk across the stage and earn an Alcorn degree.”

“Education is not just about books, it is about living, giving and receiving. All those components have come together for you to graduate,” Evers further encouraged the students to take a stand against social injustices. “It’s up to you—graduates. There are many ways to show how you feel about the progress of our people. Tell the system that there is no turning back and you will take a stand and shall not be moved.”

As our nation commemorates the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Alfred Rankins Jr. is hopeful that Alcorn students and graduates know and understand the courage and strength that Ms. Evers lives daily. “We are privileged to have a commencement speaker that truly exemplifies dignity, perseverance and strength,” he continued by describing Evers as a champion of social justice and human rights, a treasure not only to Alcorn, but to the state of Mississippi and the world.”

Alcorn’s Class of 2014, ranging in age from 20 to 62, represents five countries and 18 states, a fourth generation Alcornite, and includes a father and daughter duo earning degrees in child development.

Dr. Cassandra Vaughn, University veterinarian and Board member of the ASU Foundation, Inc. presented the Award of Excellence to Anastasia Tuset of Fayetteville, North Carolina, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and was named this year’s outstanding student, receiving a $1,000 gift.

Alcorn also honored the Class of 1964, keeping with the school’s tradition of acknowledging the class that graduated 50 years earlier. The class proudly walked the stage, received golden diplomas and made a monetary donation to support their alma mater.

President Rankins conferred degrees to nearly 700 eager graduates. “As you matriculate to the next stage in your life, take pride in all that you do and always remember that your opportunities are limitless,” he encouraged graduates to dream big and work hard. “If you remain grounded on the foundation of faith and family, great things are on the horizon for you…for you are an Alcornite.”

James Stubbs, president of Alcorn State University Alumni Association, inducted the graduating class into the Association and presented the Alcornite of the Year Award to Clarence E. Magee '54.

Facts about the Class of 2014:

689 degrees awarded this year; 674 last year.

4 posthumous degrees also awarded.

67 percent of the class is female.

33 percent of the class is male.

9.5 percent are from non-black groups.

Youngest is 20.

Oldest is 62.

27 is the average age of baccalaureate recipients.

35 is the average age of graduate and professional degree recipients.

29 is the average age of all graduates.

88 percent are Mississippi residents.

18 states represented.

5 foreign countries represented.

4 were commissioned as officers, 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army.

The audience stood in honor of the Class of 2014 and concluded the ceremony with the signing of the Alcorn Ode.


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.