New S.A.F.E. Center for student athletes holds ribbon cutting, grand opening at Alcorn

With the grand opening of its newest facility, Alcorn State University strives to maintain the athletic and academic success of its student athletes.

The Student Athlete and the Family Enhancement (S.A.F.E.) Center had its ribbon cutting and grand opening Friday, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. on Alcorn's main campus in Lorman, Mississippi. The former football stadium dressing facility is one of the first student athlete development centers on a historically black college or university campus to provide specialized support to student athletes and their families. The center will support the university community and athletic department by providing programs and services that promote degree attainment, comprehensive personal development, career planning, healthy living and professional and family development.

Built and operated in part with funding from the ASU Foundation, Inc., the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the NCAA, the S.A.F.E. Center will assist Alcorn's student athletes in cultivating and defining their educational and personal goals, developing leadership skills and refueling for performance. 

Jessica Ransome, president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee expressed her gratitude to the university for bringing a development center for student athletes.

"Every day, especially today, I am so glad that I chose to attend Alcorn where I am surrounded by caring faculty and staff that motivates me to excel at life," said Ransome. To have such a wonderful program and facility like this placed on our campus to help us reach our full potential is something that we all are grateful for."

Derek Horne, director of Athletics, said that the new resource is the key to equipping the students for their future.

"The new facility will enhance our ability to develop personal growth for our student athletes and their families, and will prepare them for their life after Alcorn," said Horne. "We want them to be proud alumni and also loyal supporters."

Paul Mooney, site coordinator for the Mississippi Community Education Center, Families First of Mississippi, applauded those responsible for their hard work in making the facility a reality.

"This is a humongous achievement," said Mooney. "You have a legitimate facility and program here at Alcorn, and I congratulate you on your accomplishment."

Jason Cable, assistant vice president for Athletic Compliance and Student Athlete Services, spoke highly of the university's student athletes. He said that a desire to push them toward more success is what inspired the idea for the facility.

"Our student athletes here are the best in the nation," said Cable. "We inspire to lead the nation in the care of our student athletes. We demand a lot from our students, and we've raised expectations, and they have met those expectations because of their dedication. We will continue to push them to reach higher benchmarks, and when we push them, we will make sure they have the support and tools they need to reach their goals."

Dr. Donzell Lee, interim president also praised the scholar athletes for their hard work and their commitment to excellence in the classroom and their sports.

"This is a great day for the university," said Lee. "Students are important to us because they are why we are here. I'm very proud of what we're doing here. Knowledge and character matter here at Alcorn and our student athletes exemplify that on a daily basis."