Alcorn celebrates scholars during 84th annual Honors Convocation

Scholars at Alcorn State University were honored for their classroom excellence during the University’s annual celebration of academic success.

The University held its 84th annual Honors Convocation Thursday, March 23, at the Oakland Memorial Chapel, recognizing scholars from the fall 2022 and spring 2023 semesters. The ceremony honored 1,022 Dean’s Scholars and 592 President’s Scholars.

The students were excited to be celebrated for their dedication to their studies. President Scholar Vanessa Washington, a junior biology/pre-medicine major from Little Rock, Arkansas, takes pride in her reward.

“Being recognized for my hard work means more to me than some may know,” said Washington. “This honor motivates me to continue the hard work. I’ve worked hard to be recognized, and it feels good to be rewarded for doing my part.”

Dean’s Scholar Christopher Epps, a senior plant and soil science major from Port Gibson, Mississippi, felt privileged to be honored alongside many successful Alcorn students.

“I worked diligently every day to receive such an honor, and I am glad to share this moment with fellow Alcorn scholars,” said Epps, who also serves as Student Government Association president. “Seeing my peers receive these awards makes me proud to be a part of a community with high achievers. We are equipped to walk among other Alcornites who have found success worldwide.”

The Rev. Dr. C. Edward Rhodes, II, interim director of the Myrlie Evers-Williams Honors Program, delivered the ceremony’s invocation. He applauded the scholars for giving their maximum efforts.

“We are here to educate students, and of the students that we’ve educated, these are the creme de la creme,” said Rhodes. “We celebrate these students for their scholarship. They could not have made the Dean’s List or President’s List without hard work in the classroom, studying, and being reminded that their reason for being here is to get good learning. These are the gold standard because of their academic achievements. We are reminded that here at Alcorn, knowledge and character matter. We celebrate the knowledge and character of these students today.”

Rhodes encouraged the scholars to utilize their intelligence in ways that serve others and promotes growth in the world.

Knowledge alone is not enough. Dr. Cornell West said, ‘Let the phones be smart; we need wise people.’ We need people who are smart and intelligent and can use their brain power to make a significant difference in this world. We think about this in terms of service, the rent we pay to occupy this planet. We hope that you use your brilliance to make your world a better place.”

Rhodes continued by motivating the scholars to remain dignified in their endeavors.

“We demand that you understand your dignity. We bleed purple and gold. When one thinks of purple and gold, one is reminded that these are the colors of royalty. How wonderful is it that in a rural place that, somehow, God graced you to be in a place that reminds you that even though we’re rural, we’re still royal? You are royal, so you better act like it.”

Dr. Natasha Hutson, chief of staff, concluded the ceremony by saluting the scholars for upholding the University motto.

“You have personified our motto, ‘Where knowledge and character matter,’ by excelling in your course work and demonstrating that Alcorn students are scholars of distinction who will do great things in this world,” said Hutson. “Continue to forge ahead with dignity, honor, and pride. Always strive for excellence and believe in the positive and amazing that you can and will do.”