Stephan Perry promoted to second lieutenant during Alcorn’s annual ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

A student completed his journey at Alcorn State University with a degree and a higher ranking in the military.

Stephan Perry, a Wilkinson County, Mississippi native who recently earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, was promoted to second lieutenant during Alcorn's annual Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony Friday, Dec. 11, at the Oakland Memorial Chapel.

Climbing the Army ranks is a significant accomplishment for Perry. He showed his pride as he reflected on the path he took to reach his latest achievement.

"I feel proud," said Perry. "It was a long journey on which I not only learned a lot, but I also grew up and matured. There were challenges and times when I didn't think I would finish the program, but I stayed the course and completed my goal."

From Alcorn to his hometown, Perry had several mentors supporting him and providing motivation for his pursuit. He acknowledged their efforts and is grateful to have them in his corner.

"My ROTC instructors at Alcorn and from my high school motivated me to keep going. I also credit my criminal justice advisor, Ms. Ashley Maryland, for encouraging me never to give up."

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Glen E. Sutton gave the ceremonial speech. Sutton, a Monticello, Mississippi native, earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Alcorn. He was also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps.

Participating in his former student’s commissioning was monumental for Sutton.

“It’s an honor to participate in the commissioning ceremony for one of my former JROTC students,” said Sutton. “To top it off, he’s commissioned from the same battalion that I was commissioned almost 32 years ago. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Sutton gave the newly appointed second lieutenant essential advice to thrive in the future.

“You get to set the course of your career, starting today, so take advantage of this opportunity. Focus on being the best that you can be in your position. It takes lots of focus, discipline, and studying to become the best version of yourself. When you commit yourself to be the best, your professional satisfaction will increase dramatically. Your work will drive your success, and your success will inspire you to continue to be your very best.

Time management is vital. Time is your most precious commodity, and your priorities will define what you complete. Remember to say thank you to your troops, peers, parents, and teachers. Also, humble yourself because if you don’t, life will do it for you.”

Lieutenant Colonel Christian Newton, who is also a professor in the Department of Military Science, expressed how proud she was of Perry’s success.

“I feel like a happy mom for being able to participate in Stephan’s commissioning,” said Newton. “I’m so proud of him. His journey to second lieutenant has been filled with uncertainty and obstacles, but he made it. He did the work and pushed through opposition.”

Sharing in the accomplishment of Alcorn scholars is one of the highlights of Alcorn President Felecia M. Nave's career. She displayed her excitement for Perry’s accomplishment and showed her confidence in his bright future.

“As president, my proudest moments are when I’m able to celebrate the accomplishments of our students who come here to prepare themselves for a successful life,” said Nave. “Now that you’re off to your next journey, we know that you will be filled with the courage and bravery you need to serve this country and live out your career dreams successfully.”