Golden Class of 1968 reflect on Alcorn's tutelage

Some of the most important and influential individuals got their start on the campus of Alcorn State University. Those former students who dedicated themselves to achieving greatness during their time here have gone out to become pillars in their society.

As the Alcorn community prepares to celebrate the university's latest group of graduates during the 2018 Spring Commencement Exercise Saturday, May 5, the 2018 Golden Class, who will walk in celebration of their 50th graduation anniversary, will also be recognized as they reflect on the greatness of their beloved university.

Members of the class are thankful for what Alcorn offered to them. Mississippi Senator Willie Simmons credits the university for preparing him for the world outside of campus. 

"My experience here was fabulous," said Simmons. "When I initially arrived on campus, I faced challenges and questioned if I had made the right decision. But after spending more time here, I adjusted to the culture, and I not only fell in love with my peers, but also the beautiful campus and the commitment from the faculty and staff. I give Alcorn credit for preparing me for what I do today as a businessman and politician."

The professors at Alcorn have such a profound effect on their pupils that it, often, inspires them to lead generations of future teachers. Vera Davis-Ballard, a retired educator from the Jefferson County School District, was one of the student teachers that developed a love for educating others.

"I love Alcorn because my professors laid the foundation for me to be successful in the field of education," said Ballard. "Without their exceptional teaching methods, I wouldn't have been able to achieve such a wonderful career."

Erma Mitchell, also a retired educator from the Fresno School District in California, shares Ballard's experience at Alcorn. For Mitchell, she reflected on how the university demanded a maximum effort to achieve success.

"I was inspired to leave my comfort zone and take a teaching job in California shortly after I graduated," said Mitchell. "Once I got there, I realized that Alcorn made me a strong individual by pushing me to be the best. I used the work ethic I developed at Alcorn to succeed in a new environment."

Alcorn is also known for developing quality leaders. Dr. John Walls Jr., chairman of the National Alumni Association Foundation, is grateful for the leadership skills that were passed on to him while attending the university. 

"Alcorn enhanced my leadership skills," said Walls. "Throughout my pursuit of a bachelor's and a master's degree here, my professors made sure that I was equipped to lead others. Alcorn has been so great to me. I appreciate everything the university has offered."