Alcorn athletes receive their degrees at graduation for student-athletes

After years of showcasing the excellence of Alcorn State University’s athletics programs, the University’s student athletes officially hung up their sports gear and replaced it with caps and gowns.

Alcorn’s graduation ceremony for student athletes was held Thursday, April 28 in the Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining Facility Gold Room. The ceremony was held for students who are unable to participate in the University’s Commencement Exercises Saturday, May 7 due to various sports competitions.

Senior, mass communication major and President of the Student Athlete Advising Committee (SAAC), Fred Galloway, was the keynote speaker for the ceremony. He began his speech by reflecting on the student athletes’ journey together.

“When I found out that I wasn’t going to walk with you guys, I was hurt,” said Fred. “But it’s great to be able to share this moment with you all. We came here four years ago as strangers, but now we’re walking out of here as family, scholars, student-athletes and graduates. It’s humbling to be here with you guys.”

Fred acknowledged the families of the graduates, along with coaches, teammates, faculty and staff, for their support of their academic careers at Alcorn.

“The people here are showing their support for you all. This is the family they told us about when they recruited us. When they said that the supporters at an HBCU will take care of you, they were talking about the family that’s here supporting us today and throughout our college journeys.”

Fred shared a piece of advice that his father gave to him about persistence.

“My father used to tell me to finish whatever I started. At the time, I thought he was just talking about the track meet. But I was wrong because he meant finish everything in life. Whatever it is that we start in life, we must finish it. We must take challenges head on.”

Fred expressed how the lessons that Alcorn has taught them will sustain them once they enter their new journeys after college.

“One thing about being here at Alcorn is that we can handle anything. There’s nothing that we cannot overcome because we have each other. This whole time, we’ve been backing each other up by encouraging each other. We’re short in number, but we are mighty when we agree that we can do things together.”

In conclusion, Fred reminded his peers of the power of their education and how valuable it is.

“Now that graduation has approached us, some of us will walk away from here with winning seasons. Some of us will walk away from here with amazing accolades. But walking away from here with a degree is something that no one can ever take from us.”

Alcorn President Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. gave the student athletes’ strong words of encouragement as they embark on their journeys into the real world.

“Today is your day,” said Rankins. “You have finished the race. This is a special occasion because you have learned the value of working hard. Go forward and leave your mark on the world by representing your family’s name and Alcorn State University with honor, pride and dignity.”

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