University honors long-serving faculty and staff at seventh annual Employee Recognition Program

Dedicated Alcorn State University employees were honored for their years of service to the oldest HBCU land grant university in the nation.

The Department of Finance and Administrative Services’ Office of Human Resources Management held its seventh annual Employee Recognition Program Wednesday, Dec. 11, in the James L. Bolden Campus Union Ballroom. Employees who have worked at Alcorn from five to 40 years were highlighted for their commitment to the university.

Monica Pierre, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, was the guest speaker. Pierre is a motivational speaker and host of the WWL radio show, Community Matters, where she takes a close look at metro New Orleans community affairs. Pierre is also a Greater New Orleans Broadcasters Hall of Fame Inductee.

She currently serves as a faculty member in Xavier University's Department of Mass Communications.

The theme of Pierre’s speech focused on the different seasons of pursuing dreams. The first season she discussed was the planting stage when dream chasers envision the goal. She encouraged the employees to stay focused during this phase and to disregard the doubters.

“You have to plant, work, wait, and gather your dreams,” said Pierre. “Planting your dream requires a vision that sees new possibilities. It begins with you seeing and believing that dreams can come true. There will be people who won't be as excited about the dreams that you have. They’ll tell you the reasons why it won’t happen. If you’re not careful, you’ll start to believe what the doubters are telling you.”

Next on Pierre’s path to success were working toward the dream and exercising faith that the hard work will pay off.

“As I looked around this beautiful campus, I saw the construction of what will become beautiful structures. This university is working to achieve its goals, and you must do the same when chasing your dreams. Without hard work, goals will not be achieved. While you’re working, you have to wait and be patient. Things will happen that will make you question your efforts, but you must have faith and keep going.”

Finally, Pierre encouraged the employees of the benefits of reaping the benefits of all of the hard work put toward the dream.

“Know when it’s time to gather your dreams because if you don’t, everything you have worked for will be for naught. So have the wisdom and understanding of when to harvest your dreams.”

Several Alcorn employees shared their good experiences while working for the university.

A pleasant working environment is why Denita Jones has committed the last five years to being a business operations and special events assistant. She enjoys how everyone at Alcorn is like family.

“I’ve enjoyed working at Alcorn,” said Jones. “There is a family atmosphere here that can’t be duplicated anywhere else. Everyone genuinely cares for each other. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with exceptional leadership and awesome co-workers, which is a plus.”

In his 15-year career at Alcorn, Jerry Howard, director of operations for CITS, reflected on the professional benefits that Alcorn has afforded him. He appreciates being recognized for his years of service.

“Alcorn has provided me countless opportunities for growth and professional development,” said Howard. “The university gave me the knowledge and tools to transition from being a counselor to becoming a university technology professional. There were challenges along the way, but there was always an Alcornite willing to guide me in the right direction. Working here has been rewarding.”

Few Alcorn employees have served the university as long as Lillian Sheppard, an administrative assistant for Alcorn’s Extension Program, and Cornelius Riggins from Facilities. The two are grateful for the love shown to them by their peers.

“It feels great to have reached this milestone,” said Sheppard. “I’ve had an excellent experience as an employee at Alcorn for all of these years. Every day, a new challenge has arisen that has made me better as a professional.”

“I appreciate all of the love from Alcorn,” said Riggins. “I love Alcorn from the bottom of my heart. I’ve truly enjoyed working with all of the students and employees that I have gotten to know.”