Alcorn National Alumni Association makes history, charters first ever South Florida Chapter in Miami

Faithful Alcorn State University alumni have teamed up to form the university's first charted alumni chapter in the state of Florida.

Alcorn's South Florida Alumni Chapter made its debut during the fifth annual HBCU Picnic at Rolling Oaks Park in Miami Gardens, Florida Saturday, July 13. Alcorn and a host of other Historical Black Colleges and Universities alumni groups, National Panhellenic organizations, and the South Florida Black Professionals Network joined together to sponsor the event and bring awareness to HBCUs.

At the picnic, representatives from the newly formed chapter sponsored a tent where they served food, shared information about the university and fellowshipped with others.

Rolonda Bridgewater, chapter president, expressed her passion for the university and why it was vital for her and fellow Alcornites to represent their alma mater in the local community.

"The feeling is humbling as well as an honor to be the first to give Alcorn a presence in South Florida officially," said Bridgewater, who earned a bachelor's degree in biology in May 2019. "To be able to form a group of like-minded alumni to promote Alcorn leaves me speechless. There are no words to describe my true emotions, so I decided to put some of my time, energy, and money where my heart is. We are privileged to help increase Alcorn's student enrollment from Florida. We are excited to give back to the university that empowered us, instilled values and morals, and educated us."

Alumni leaders are enthusiastic to see the rise of the new Florida chapter. Neddie Winters, president of the Alcorn State University National Alumni Association, welcomes the South Florida chapter with open arms. Winters expressed his eagerness to get to work with the chapter.

“We are excited to welcome the first-ever alumni chapter in the state of Florida,” said Winters. “Braves are everywhere, and it’s good to know that they have come together to form a chapter. I’m looking forward to working with them and making them an integral part of the national alumni association.”

Janice Gibson, director of Development & Alumni Affairs, spoke about the importance of alumni chapters and how their presence will play a significant role in the life of the university.

“I am very thrilled to see our newest alumni chapter being formed in the South Florida area,” said Gibson. “Joining the national alumni association is the best way for alumni to keep in touch with the activities and events happening at Alcorn. Alumni Chapters are so important because they allow Alcornites the opportunity to play a role in the future of the university.”

With the new platform, South Florida alumni plan to help promote the university to those unaware of its accomplishments. Bridgewater said that this is an excellent recruiting opportunity.

"The birth of this alumni chapter will preserve the university's legacy, remind some that we are proud to be the first HBCU Land-Grant university, and attract new students that will give back. It allows us to speak of our academic reputation, our world-class athletic program, campus lifestyle, and promote Alcorn to those who are not informed."

The future looks bright for the growth of the chapter. Bridgewater said that more events and fundraisers are in the chapter's future, along with attending events such as Alcorn's annual Mid-Winter Conference. She also hopes to one day bring the Mid-Winter Conference to Miami.