Academic scholars celebrated during Alcorn’s 82nd Honors Convocation

Alcorn State University held an in-person celebration of its most talented students during its annual academic honors event.

The 82nd annual Honors Convocation was held Thursday, March 25, in the Davey L. Whitney HPER Complex. The event acknowledged scholars from the spring 2020 semester (654 Dean’s Scholars, 350 President’s Scholars) and the fall 2020 semester (553 Dean’s Scholars, 341 President’s Scholars).

Dr. Zackeus Johnson, who served as Alcorn’s 2014-2015 Student Government Association (SGA) president, delivered the keynote speech. Johnson serves as dean of University College at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

After recapping a year of unprecedented events, Johnson applauded the scholars for staying committed to their studies and staying focused on their purpose.

“Through it all, you have persevered, sacrificed, and remained committed to your academics,” said Johnson. “These are the times that define you, not being members of Greek organizations or winning class queen or president positions. These times force you to claw, scratch, fight, and get through mid-terms and finals examinations. These are the moments when you ask yourself what your purpose is.”

In the future, Johnson encouraged the scholars to have an innovator's approach to their endeavors to become the next generation of leaders.

“Focus your attention on the possibilities and being a forward thinker. Alcorn produces innovators, trendsetters, leaders, and change agents. As I peruse this facility, I see a group of talented and multi-faceted scholars that are braving or have braved through challenging times with flexibility and accountability.”

As a product of Alcorn, Johnson assured the scholars that the University’s preparation will lead them to success. He concluded his speech by motivating the students to continue enhancing critical characteristics learned at the University to achieve career fulfillment.

“You are made for success. Alcorn is preparing you to accomplish your dreams. I challenge you to embody and normalize being proactive. Develop qualities such as resilience, grit, being a team player, stepping outside of your comfort zone, and showing interest in servicing others. You can apply these qualities in any situation and in multiple job markets. This is what employers are looking for in future employees. These characteristics will help you to improve your performance.”

Dr. Ontarrio Wooden, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, spoke to the students about staying the course and motivated seniors to finish strong in the coming weeks.

“I encourage you to stay focused, work hard, and finish this semester strong,” said Wooden. “Seniors, commencement is around the corner. Hang in there. Congratulations, and I look forward to seeing you on May 8.”