Fine Arts building named after Dr. Joyce J. Bolden, band hall named after Samuel S. Griffin

Two of Alcorn State University’s most heralded former faculty members’ were honored for their dedication to pushing the University’s Department of Fine Arts forward.

The unveiling of the Joyce J. Bolden Fine Arts Building and the Samuel S. Griffin Band Hall occurred Friday, Nov. 18 at the building’s Naming Ceremony. Bolden devoted more than 40 years of service to Alcorn, and made a significant impact as the Department of Fine Arts’ chairperson. Griffin was the director of bands for the University’s Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite marching band for over 40 years, and was well known for his auxiliary innovations that included the addition of the Golden Girls and Purple Flashers Flag Corp.

Bolden was overjoyed by the presentation.

“I am really overwhelmed by this celebration,” said Bolden. “I served Alcorn for a very long time, and I gave everything that I could have given. So I really love this University and all they have done for me.”

Dr. Norris Edney, former interim president and dean of arts and sciences at Alcorn, praised the two honorees for their commitment to the University.

“There are no two individuals who has given so much of their blood, sweat and tears to this University,” said Edney. “These people are deserving of this honor because they gave their best efforts to Alcorn. I realized how fantastic they were after hearing people who remembered their legacy talk about the great things they did.”

Charles Wesley, director of the Alcorn Men Chorale, said that the honorees’ personalities are prime examples of everything upstanding.

“Nothing that I requested was ever denied, from scholarships for students to purchasing supplies and materials for the program,” said Wesley. “She trusted me to lead the voice program. I saw Sam Griffin take care of the band’s needs that included band equipment, food and traveling expenses. These honorees’ greatness is a result of hard work and humble commitment. All of us should let their lives be an example for our own.”

Dr. Renardo Murray, current director of Bands at Alcorn, reflected on the valuable mentorship Bolden and Griffin displayed during his time as a student.

“I’ve had the pleasure of being a student of Dr. Bolden and Mr. Griffin,” said Murray. “Dr. Bolden had what it took to keep the students on the right path and out of trouble. She taught us how to carry ourselves. Mr. Griffin represented everything a mentor and father figure could ever be. He was very accessible to the students. He always had an open heart and listening ear when we need him.”

Lawrence Jackson, a longtime friend of Griffin and former director of Bands at Southern University, explained to the audience what type of personality his mentor had.

“I am happy to be a part of this celebration,” said Jackson. “I’ve known Dr. Griffin for over 40 years. He cares about helping people. He is a man of peace who is always very humble.”

Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., president at Alcorn, said that Bolden and Griffin embodied everything that Alcorn stands for.

“It’s evident that thousands of students were given the opportunity to sharpen their musical talents because of the vision of Dr. Bolden and Mr. Griffin,” said Rankins. “These two represent the spirit of Alcorn. Whenever students had the desire to succeed, they made a way for them. That’s what Alcorn is all about.”

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