Three Alcorn alums named amongst Mississippi’s Most Influential African-Americans for 2019 by Our Mississippi Magazine

Three accomplished Alcorn State University alumni will be recognized for having a positive impact throughout the state of Mississippi.

Our Mississippi magazine and publisher Wesley Wells will recognize Rep. Alyce Clarke as one of their 2019 Legacy honorees for the Mississippi's Most Influential African-Americans Awards Gala and Reception Friday, Aug. 23 at the Hilton Hotel, located on County Line Road in Jackson, Mississippi. Two other Alcornites, Col. Chris Gillard and Betina Brandon, were also selected for the Mississippi's Most Influential African-Americans of 2019 list.

Clarke, who received a bachelor's degree in 1961, has served as a Mississippi House of Representative for District 69 in Hinds County since 1985. She is the first African-American woman to serve in the Mississippi Legislature. Gillard ‘93 serves as director of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, where he oversees the operation of the largest, statewide law enforcement agency in Mississippi. Brandon '97 is the manager of Workforce Development and Diversity at Entergy Corporation in Jackson. Her duty is to develop the workforce for local sources of talent with external partners that include school districts, colleges and universities, and more.

Although she has impacted the lives of others for years, Clarke was surprised to be acknowledged for her years of service to her community. She's humbled and appreciative of the spotlight.

"I am honored to be considered in this group," said Clarke. "I had no idea that people felt this strongly about the things I've been trying to do.  My mission is to help my people get some of the things that they needed or wanted."

Since leaving Alcorn years ago, Gillard has built a successful career in law enforcement that he credits to the lessons he learned on campus. One teacher in particular that he thanks is Dr. Edna Green for her commitment to her students' wellbeing.

"While attending Alcorn, my purpose became clear because of the dedicated teachers," said Gillard. "I first saw Alcorn as an avenue for success, however, that all changed when I met Dr. Green in the criminal justice program. She went beyond the classroom by investing time and imparting her wisdom into each of her students. Through her, I learned the importance of building value in others and how staying committed equals success. Alcorn prepared me for my career, and more importantly, it prepared me for a life of service."

Being a light in the lives of others is a passion for Brandon. She's glad to be known as someone that helps others become their best.

"It's an honor for me to be recognized for positively influencing others," said Brandon. "Whenever I have an opportunity to have an impact on someone's character or development, I never take it lightly. Helping others is my way of paying it forward for what others have done for me."