Alcorn’s Honors program named after Myrlie Evers-Williams

The Honors Curriculum Program at Alcorn State University is being renamed in honor of one of the University’s most celebrated honorary alumna.

The program will be renamed The Myrlie Evers-Williams Honors Program in honor of the civil rights leader, author, and journalist who spent over three decades seeking justice for the 1963 murder of her former husband, the late Medgar Evers. Evers-Williams was also voted chairperson of the NAACP in 1995. Evers-Williams, a Vicksburg, Mississippi native, attended Alcorn A & M College for a year, where she met and fell in love with Medgar. The two later married in 1951.

After leaving the NAACP board of directors, she published her autobiography, “Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I was Meant to Be,” in 1999. Her other honors include seven honorary doctorates, being named, “Woman of the Year” in 1998 by “Ms. Magazine,” and being named one of the 100 Most Fascinating Black Women of the 20th Century by “Ebony” magazine. Whoopi Goldberg played Evers-Williams in the 1996 film “Ghosts of Mississippi,” which is based on the Medgar Evers murder and the 1994 trial that brought his murder to justice.

In January 2013, Evers-Williams delivered the invocation at Barak Obama’s second presidential inauguration. She was the first woman and first non-religious leader to perform the prayer.

Evers-Williams also held prominent positions in the corporate world. She served as vice president for a New York-based advertising agency and as a community affairs executive at a Los Angeles oil company. In 1987, she was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley as the first Black female commissioner of the Board of Public Works, a position that she held for eight years.

The honors program offers a fresh approach to Alcorn by distinguishing the program on campus and abroad, attracting academically successful and socially conscious students, and assisting the University in cultivating global citizen scholars.

Evers-Williams expressed her appreciation to the University for recognizing her.

“It is with great pride and excitement that Alcorn State University has renamed their Honors program, which now has been bestowed in my name,” said Evers-Williams. “This designation is a special recognition that I hold close to my heart, acknowledging my time on Alcorn's campus, my life’s work, and my dedication to furthering the fight for equality and human rights. I am pleased that this innovative Honors program at Alcorn State University will elevate exceptional intellectual and dedicated scholars as intentional ethical emerging leaders. My sincere gratitude to Alcorn State University for this is humbling and immensely gratifying honor.”

Alcorn President Dr. Felecia M. Nave praised Evers-Williams’ achievements. She’s proud to recognize the civil rights leader on campus.

“Myrlie Evers-Williams has exemplified scholarship, leadership, and achievement throughout her illustrious career, so it’s fitting that the University renames the Honors program in her honor,” said Nave. “She’s an ideal example of the strength, courage, and character that Alcornites exude. We’re thrilled to recognize her for extraordinary contributions and ongoing activism.