Alcorn State University’s first female president was installed as the University's leader during a historic inaugural event.
Dr. Felecia M. Nave accepted the charge to lead Alcorn during the Investiture of the 20th President ceremony Friday, April 16, in the Oakland Memorial Chapel. Nave’s Investiture was initially scheduled for 2020, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremony, along with other events, was put on hold.
Nave began her inaugural address with appreciation as she accepted the significant role as president.
“I am honored, grateful, and humbled,” said Nave. “To stand here as my alma mater’s first female president is a welcomed responsibility. This institution has been predominantly female for years, and this is a significant moment in our collective life as Alcornites.”
The support and spirit of Alcornites empower Nave to be the best and aspire for greatness. She applauded the Alcorn community for what they bring to the University.
“I am convinced that the people here have figured out a secret sauce that every community would benefit from. Alcornites have figured out how to excel and defy odds while remaining humble and supportive of one another. They understand the importance of bringing others along and realizing that our success is shared. This lesson in leadership is one for all of us.”
In a salute to the University’s foundation, Nave credits the lessons she learned at Alcorn and its opportunities for her presidency.
“I am not here by accident or solely by my efforts. I dare to lead because the legacy of Alcorn’s past has enabled me to envision the promise of our future. My presidency symbolizes Alcorn’s eagerness and energy for excellence and growth in the next 150 years. That’s why I am here. It takes courage to break a ceiling. It also requires a willing community who sees that shattered glass as a new floor and not a mess.”
Despite a challenging year due to COVID-19, Nave praised the University for remaining strong in its operation and achievements. She expressed pride in her colleagues for overcoming every hurdle that was placed on their path.
“In this past year, Alcron has leveled up. We transitioned to virtual classes while maintaining a high standard of academic excellence and a sense of hope and trust in our community. Those consistencies and my great team positioned us for an in-person return in the fall of 2020. We received our largest single donor grant of $25 million from MacKenzie Scott. This year has tested our resilience and response, but it has proven our commitment to the mission and vision of the University. We are a great institution that outperforms the research dollars and the operations associated with our name. We have the history, drive, and people to be an exceptional institution that leads across the full spectrum of our offerings.”
Members from the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) expressed their confidence in Nave’s ability to lead Alcorn. Dr. Ford Dye, IHL president, assured the University community that Nave would make them proud as their leader.
“Alcorn State is a very special place,” said Dye. “It’s rich in history and tradition, and today marks an important milestone in the history of this institution. Dr. Nave understands both the University’s traditions and the need to innovate in today’s higher education climate. Her deep understanding will guide her decision-making as she leads this University. We have great confidence in President Nave and look forward to the achievements that this great University will enjoy during her tenure.”
Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., IHL commissioner, and Alcorn’s 19th president acknowledged the many people counting on Nave to propel Alcorn to new heights. He echoed Dye’s sentiments about Nave’s leadership skills and forward-thinking.
“This is a wonderful moment in the history of a wonderful institution,” said Rankins. “You have the hopes and dreams of many on your shoulders. The alumni hope that you preserve and protect your and their alma mater. The faculty and staff hope that you will be mindful of their interest and keep teaching and learning at the heart of the University. The people of southwest Mississippi trust that you will help the region thrive and prosper. The people and the state trust you to be a good steward of the University’s resources. Most of all, the students hope you will provide them with personalized learning opportunities that emphasize intellectual development and help them succeed in the global marketplace. Alcorn has been placed in your trust and care, love her and take care of her. The members of the Board of Trustees and I are confident that you will fulfill all of these expectations.”