Long before Alcorn State University’s campus store was named “Jack’s,” it went by “Mr. Sam’s Store.”
Initially owned by the University, Sam Cadney, Sr. became the store’s owner and remained in that position from 1974 until 2005. The store is one of the staples on campus.
Cadney’s daughter, Patricia Cadney-Fields, a retired educator (41 years) and member of the 1973 Golden Class, remembers those times of her father being a light to his surroundings and being around the store.
After graduating and awaiting a career opportunity in education, Fields would help her dad with store operations during Braves football games. She credits the opportunity for keeping her sharp by introducing her to new challenges.
“I enjoyed going into the workforce after being out of college for a year and coming to help out,” said Fields, who will earn her golden diploma during Saturday’s Spring Commencement Ceremony. “Working, dealing with finances, and stocking kept my mind open to new challenges.”
Fields reflected on how her father would help the community. She remembers how parents of Alcorn students would show their gratitude whenever they visited campus.
“The community had nowhere to go but Patton Store, which was off campus. Many people at that time didn’t have transportation. So the students would come and lounge while they got their cars fixed. My father allowed the students to set up accounts to pay for items later. When parents would come and visit their children, they would bring my dad little tokens of appreciation for what he did for their children.”
Working for her father further motivated Fields to represent her family in a positive light. The professional setting enhanced Fields’ professional and personal development.
“I had to uphold the Cadney name. I had to be respectful to others. Showing respect helped me to broaden my mind about running a business and helping at the store and in life.”
The store provided more than snacks and necessities; it also provided opportunities for the Alcorn community, which is why Fields will always cherish what her father offered with his business.
“The store means so much to me because it allowed my father to own a rural store and give back to the community and students. He bought ads from the students and allowed them to work at the store for a few hours when they could.”