Alcorn reflects on its history at Founders Day Convocation

Alcorn State University students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered to look back at the University’s storied history.

The 2015 Founders Day Convocation was held in the historic Oakland Memorial Chapel Thursday, Oct. 8. The event’s speaker was Dr. Robert Tatum, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry/pre-medicine from Alcorn in 1990 and went on to become a family practitioner and primary care doctor in Canton, Mississippi. During his speech, he focused on the educational well being of the students by emphasizing the importance of hard work.

“I want to encourage you all to do all that you can to represent this university in a positive way,” said Tatum. “Do all that you can do to be successful. Take all of your required classes and do your best.”

Tatum, who reflected on his time at Alcorn, spoke about how his professors prepared him for pursuing his postgraduate degrees and career.

“Alcorn did a tremendous job at preparing me for graduate school and a career in medicine. My ability to use what I learned here in other places was outstanding.”

Tatum spoke directly to students majoring in pre-medicine about what they can do on their journey to working in their field.

“The advice I can give to students in this field is to make your spiritual life a priority along with working hard. If you combine the two, then you can be successful and live a great life.”

Donzell Lee, executive vice president and provost for Academic Affairs, spoke about carrying on Alcorn’s great legacy.

“Since 1871, this institution has trained young minds,” said Lee. “We congratulate all of those who have contributed over the years to the success of this great university. We should be mindful of the road we are on to continuing this university’s great reputation.”

President Alfred Rankins Jr. closed the convocation by speaking highly of the institution and explaining the characteristics of an Alcornite.

“This is a great university,” said Rankins. “You can come to Alcorn and get a great, affordable education and you can leave with the tools you need to be whatever you desire to be. The way you carry yourself during adversity will define who you are. People will know that you are associated with Alcorn because of your dignity.”

After the program, a few pre-medicine students shared their thoughts on Tatum’s speech and the convocation.

“Attending this program has enlightened me on the direction I plan to take in the remainder of my education and career. It also gave me an opportunity to learn more about the University’s history,” said senior Krystain Coleman.

“I thought the convocation was very educational. It felt good to hear advice from an Alcornite. It was very nice to hear what he went through as a pre-medicine student. He inspired me to work even harder at pursuing my dreams,” said junior Zacharia Harris.

“This was a very nice experience. It’s humbling to know that you can come from a small town and be successful. Because of him, I know that I can make it in life,” said junior Bryanna Lebeaux.

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