Alcorn State University celebrates Founders Day 2014

Alcorn State University faculty, staff, students and alumni gathered to celebrate the illustrious history of their beloved university.

The school celebrated its birth at the 2014 Founders Day Convocation Thursday, September 25 in the historic Oakland Memorial Chapel. Dr. John E. Walls Jr., ’68, Victory Dillon Mumford, ’73 and Dr. John A. Wicks Jr. spoke about their fondest memories of being a student at Alcorn.

Author Josephine McCann Posey noted that Alcorn is entering its 143rd year of existence, making it the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the United States and the second-oldest state-supported institution of higher learning in Mississippi. Alcorn University was founded in 1871 as a result of the people of Mississippi’s efforts to educate the descendants of formerly enslaved Africans. It was named in honor of the sitting governor of Mississippi, James L. Alcorn.

Dr. John E. Walls Jr., a Philipp, Miss., native, was the first to speak to the audience. During his trip down memory lane, he remembered how important it was for him to make his education his first priority. He expressed how Alcorn State shaped him into the man he is today.

“As far as my education was concerned, I put my education before everything else. Our teachers really cared about us. They shared their great knowledge with us. I am who I am because of Alcorn,” said Walls.

Amite County, Miss. native Victory Dillon Mumford, who was elected as Miss Alcorn 1972-1973, showed her gratitude to her alma mater by crediting the school for her development.

“I owe so much to God, my parents and Alcorn. I thank Alcorn for giving me numerous first time opportunities. This school quieted my fears by preparing me to compete on a national stage,” said Mumford.

Dr. John A. Wicks, Jr. of Jackson, Miss., who referred to Alcorn as “the most beautiful campus in the state of Mississippi,” mention how he owes his former school for his life, due to his parents meeting while they attended school here.

“Alcorn State University is a special place. My parents meet in a physics class in Bowles Hall. So I owe a lot to Alcorn,” said Wicks.

Wicks, who is also a Baptist preacher, credits Alcorn for preparing him to be a pastor by giving him countless chances to hold leadership positions.

“My foundation was laid right here at Alcorn. This school gave me an opportunity to lead in various organizations. You don’t get that opportunity at every university.

Alcorn State President Alfred Rankins Jr. closed the convocation by encouraging the students to appreciate their beloved university.

“Love your school. Treasure your school. Give back to your school. I didn’t realize what Alcorn was doing for me when I was a student. It wasn’t until I graduated that I truly gained a true appreciation for what Alcorn did for me,” said Rankins.

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