Graduates part ways with Alcorn at inaugural Fall Commencement Convocation

Reaching the end of the college experience can send new alumni into a tailspin of emotions. On one hand, graduates feel a sense of accomplishment after completing a challenging four years of studying, papers, research and finals. But on the other hand, they realize that the days of hanging with their friends around campus and at school events are coming to a close. Fayette, Mississippi native Amber Harried, who graduated Summa Cum Laude and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, felt these emotions as she walked across the stage to receive her degree.

“Graduation is bitter sweet because I shall part from my friends and my collegiate passions, and soon immerse myself in new endeavors,” said Amber. “However, I feel exhilaration at the very thought of walking across that stage and receiving the fruit of my work over the past years. I am definitely looking forward to being an alumni of one of the nation’s best historically black colleges and universities.”

Amber was one of many graduates who participated in Alcorn State University’s inaugural Fall Commencement Convocation Friday, Dec. 9 in the Davey L. Whitney HPER Complex. Global hair care leader at Procter & Gamble Rukeyser S. Thompson delivered the commencement speech during the ceremony.

Thompson began her speech by acknowledging the students’ place in Alcorn’s history by being the first fall graduating class. She also praised them for their decision to pursue their educations at the University.

“You are special because you are the first fall graduating class that Alcorn has ever had,” said Thompson. “You all are talented, tenacious and dynamic, and now, you are alumni of the greatest and oldest Afrocentric, land-grant institution in America. When you stood beneath the shades of these giant trees and where fanned by a balmy southern breeze, your great minds couldn’t help but be born. Education is what you sought, and you chose Alcorn State University. For that reason, I am proud of you.”

One thing that the students got from Thompson’s speech was to always remember what it took for them to reach such an incredible milestone.

“Some people aren’t fortunate enough to complete this journey, so what you have done by dedicating yourselves and staying committed despite the challenges is an amazing accomplishment. Never forget the journey you took to get here. Never forget the wonderful things that you experienced because it built perseverance in you. It built resilience, so you should pause for this moment and acknowledged just how wonderful you are.”

As Thompson addressed the graduates, she reflected on her own educational journey and how she managed to survive the tough times. She overcame them, and motivated the graduates to do the same when faced with adversity.

“When you set your goals high, even when you fall, you’re still elevated. Always believe in yourself. When you leave here, some of you will find jobs and others will go to graduate school. You’re going to have some wonderful life experiences, and some experiences will not be so wonderful. Some people will say some mean things to you, but you will have the opportunity to decide if you will give them power over your life. Never let anyone shake your confidence. I need you to always believe in yourself.”

Alcorn President Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. encouraged the students to always put forth their best effort in whatever they decide to pursue.

“Do not let anyone tell you that your degree from Alcorn is less than perfect,” said Rankins. “You have the tools you need to make an impact in this world. All you have to do is continue to work. If you keep working hard and pushing forward, there is nothing that you can’t accomplish.”

  • Fall commencement resized.jpg
  • Rukeyser Thompson resized.jpg