On Thursday, March 24th, Alcorn State University (ASU) held its 83rd Annual Honors Convocation in the Davey L. Whitney Complex in Lorman, Mississippi. The Honors Convocation themed “Cultivating the Next Generation of Scholar-Activists” recognized Presidential and Dean’s List scholars for both Spring and Fall 2021 semesters. The Spring semester honored 345 Presidential Scholars and 607 Dean’s Scholars whereas the Fall semester honored 294 Presidential Scholars and 484 Dean’s Scholars.
Tony Gordon, Assistant Professor of Music, opened the Convocation with a song entitled, “Panis Angelicus” by Cesar Franck. Afterwards, Reverend Dr. C. Edward Rhodes II, Interim Director of the Honors Curriculum Program, delivered the Invocation followed by a selection from ASU’s Concert Choir. The choir performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” arranged by Roland Carter and later ASU’s Men Choral performed “Wade in the Water” arranged by Mark Hayes.
Olecia James, Miss Alcorn State University 2021-2022 and Dennis Stevenson II, Mister Alcorn State University 2021-2022, gave the welcome to scholars, staff, and visitors followed by the occasion delivered by Dr. Ontario S. Wooden, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Dr. Corey Wiggins, Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority and Alcorn alumnus, delivered the keynote speech. Driven by the mission to serve in the community, Wiggins has previously served as the Executive Director for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP, Senior Vice President of policy at Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union, Director of the Hope Policy Institute, Public Policy Professional as a Barbara Jordan Health Policy Fellow in the United States Senate, Policy Analyst for the Mississippi State Legislature and Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at Jackson State University. In 2022, Wiggins was appointed by President Joe Biden and then confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority. Wiggins urged the scholars to be responsible through service and leadership.
“There’s an expectation of everyone in this room. An expectation that you have to put in yourself to lead. Lead in a way that allows you to serve, so listen to understand the needs, to understand the issues, to understand what is going on in your community, and to understand what is going on, on campus,” Dr. Wiggins said. He also encouraged students to value themselves and to find something to anchor themselves in so that they would understand how to overcome any obstacles that they may face.
After Dr. Wiggins’ speech, students were awarded for their academic success. Presidential and Dean’s scholars were awarded certificates, medallions, and/or sweaters. All students achieving a grade point average of 3.5 within a single semester earned the distinction of being a Dean’s Scholar and any student achieving a 4.0 grade point average received a certificate and a medal.
Dr. Felecia M. Nave, Alcorn State University President, gave closing remarks and stated, “Continue to strive for excellence and don’t accept anything short of that. Continue to push and challenge yourself to dream big.”