Alcorn Celebrates Largest and Most Diverse Graduating Class (395 hits)
Alcorn State University concluded its commencement week activities May 9-12 by graduating its largest and most diverse graduation class in its 141-year history.
More than 8,400 people attended the 141st Commencement Convocation to celebrate the achievements of 753 graduates - a 17 percent increase over 2011.
Parents, alumni and friends of the graduates were greeted as they entered through the campus gates with welcome banners, banners boasting Alcorn as the 2012 HBCU of the Year and student banners representing individuals from all walks of life – undergraduate and graduate students, American born and international students, but what clearly stands out is how proud students are to be at an institution where knowledge and character matter.
“This year’s class represent the essence of Alcorn,” President M. Christopher Brown II said. “Both the valedictorian and salutatorian are 4.0 scholars – one is African American and one Caucasian. This graduating class represent 15 different states and six countries, 47% percent more women than men, the youngest graduate is 20 and the most mature graduate is 69 while the average age is 29, and 14 percent of the Class of 2012 is white and other ethnic groups.”
Educational research shows diversity in the classroom means better learning outcomes for students, but that is not the only reason why it is important, President Brown says, “A diverse college experience celebrates limitless thought.”
Mr. Cameron Jenkins age 22, Bachelor of Science candidate in music, secondary education, and Ms. Miriam Timmons age 51, Bachelor of Science candidate in elementary education, earned valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. With both scholars attaining a perfect 4.0, the determining factor was based on the individual with the most credit hours earned at Alcorn.
Miriam came to Alcorn after completing two years at Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Natchez campus) and as an inaugural member of the University’s Education Cohorts, which began in January of 2010. In her greeting to graduates, Miriam mentioned how hard it was being a non-traditional student at Alcorn.
“I was overwhelmed,” Miriam says. “I wasn't adequately prepared for how much work it was. The rigor of the courses really challenged me, but thank God for my family who stood by my side and for my Alcorn family who never let me down. Congratulations, fellow Alcorn graduates. I wish the best for each of you. May you achieve all your dreams and in so doing, may you affect positive change in the future and future generations.”
Cameron came to Alcorn after falling in love with the Sounds of Dyn-O-mite as a child. Cameron proudly shares that “Alcorn inspired my love for the arts.”
In his speech to graduates, Cameron noted that he was here because he stood on the promise of education. He encouraged students to continue to stand on the real promise. “For, a real promise can withstand deception, disappointment, and temporary defeat.”
Cameron talked about the Alcorn family environment and how family sometimes disappoints one another, but disappointments bring out the best in you, “They release a reservoir of strength and determination you were previously unaware of.” He warned graduates that defeat shows up right before the victory. “We have strength to stand tall even during our most difficult times. After you have done everything you know how to do, continue to stand.”
Commencement speakers Ms. Xernona Clayton (founder and CEO of Trumpet Awards) and Dr. Randal Pinkett (chairman and CEO of BCT Partners) received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.
Ms. Clayton spoke to the Class of 2012 concerning all they have learned throughout their educational pursuits, “Remember, what you have learned. Be on time. And ifyou are going to survive, you are going to have to get on the ball.”
“What do you do when there is no road? Establish your own road. Be your own trailblazer. For you are all opportunity takers,” Dr. Randall Pinkett exclaimed. “Failure is meeting the man or woman you could have been. Believe whatever your mind can conceive, you can achieve.”
And then Mr. Dathan Thigpen, recording artist with Dominium Entertainment and BET’s Sunday Best finalist, sang a beautiful tribute to the Class of 2012. Commencement Chaplin, the Rev. Dr. William E. Flippin, Sr., offered a prayer for the graduating class and wished them every success.
The Alcorn State University Foundation Chairman Mr. Robert Gage presented Kimber Thomas with the 2012 Outstanding Student Award of Excellence. During her time at Alcorn, Kimber has been very active and heldleadership roles in several extracurricular activities on campus. She has also managed to maintain a stellar 3.92 grade point average.
Prior to the conferring of degrees, President Brown continued the tradition he established last year and presented each graduate with the first dollar of their new career. He also started a new tradition during the ceremony when he honored the Golden Class of 1962 with their 50-year diplomas and an Alcorn medallion.
The ceremony concluded with the singing of the Alcorn Ode and President Brown left the graduates with watchful words, “Watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Watch your words, for they become your actions. Watch your actions, for they become your habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally-competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships which benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation and world.