Alcorn State University launches a yearlong celebration of its 150th anniversary

Alcorn State University launches its 150th anniversary celebrations at noon Thursday, May 13, kicking off more than a year of activities that will honor the nation’s oldest public historically Black land-grant institution.

Less than a month after the investiture of Alcorn’s 20th president, Dr. Felecia M. Nave, the vibrant ceremony featuring national and local luminaries will capture the university’s history – including its ability to defy the odds and transcend expectations over its first 150 years – and the bold strategies it has set in place to define its next 150 years.

About the event

Hosted by alumnus and Mississippi’s Fox 40 News anchor Melissa Faith Payne, the event will be live and streamed from the Historic Oakland Memorial Chapel on the Lorman campus. The May 13 event will honor the history of Alcorn State University, with brief panel discussions of its academic and athletic excellence, a mini-documentary narrated by Emmy Award-winning actress Aunjanue Ellis showcasing the evolving campus life and powerful legacy, and appearances from national and local celebrities, including U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, and Dr. Jacqueline Walters.

To kick off the Sesquicentennial celebrations, the event will bring together current and former students, faculty, staff, and supporters of Alcorn State University, highlighting Alcorn’s impact on the world and feature a variety of tributes, including the renowned Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Marching Band and the Golden Girls, and the University’s Concert Choir.

Please visit for more information about upcoming Sesquicentennial events.

About the moment

Born in 1871 from the embers of the Civil War, Alcorn was both Mississippi’s first public college for Black youth and the country’s first historically Black land-grant college. The university’s founders included the first Black U.S. senator, Hiram Revels, and Alcorn students followed his lead, blazing new paths in academics, athletics, civil rights, government, medicine, and other domains; Alex Haley, Medgar Evers, and Steve McNair stand as just three distinguished Alcornites who dared to make indelible marks within their fields.

“For 150 years, Alcornites have excelled and defied odds while remaining humble and supportive of one another,” said Alcorn President Felecia M. Nave, an alumna of the university and its first female president. “We lean deeply into our storied past and look forward to our bright future. I am truly honored to lead Alcorn into the next 150 years doing just that – celebrating our roots while running full steam ahead into our future.”

Alcorn today enrolls more than 3,200 undergraduate and graduate students from Mississippi and around the globe. These students come to Alcorn for the excellence and affordability of its academic programs, the vibrancy of its campus life, and the legendary NCAA Division I athletic program. Still deeply connected to its land-grant mission, the university operates its Extension Program from three locations serving local farming and ranching needs in 15 southwest Mississippi counties while empowering citizens across the state.

“Alcorn State University plays an unparalleled role in Mississippi history,” said ASU Foundation Chair Robert D. Gage IV, the chief executive of River Hills Bank. “Today, we honor the university’s legacy while paying tribute to all that it is contributing to the future of our state and our nation.”  

About Alcorn State University today

Alcorn State University is the nation’s first public, historically Black, Morrill land-grant university. Alcorn State offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in more than 50 top-degree programs. Located on 1700 acres in Lorman, Mississippi, with branches in Vicksburg and Natchez, the University is celebrating 150 years of academic excellence. In addition to its generous scholarship opportunities, Alcorn has earned nationwide recognition in nursing, biology, music, technology, agricultural research, and the liberal arts. Outside of the classroom, students are involved in NCAA Division I athletics as well as more than 85 organizations and clubs, including student-run radio and television stations, study abroad, and the 200-strong Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Marching Band featuring the Golden Girls.