Alcorn celebrates 132nd graduation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 11, 2003

LORMAN &045; &uot;The academic resort&uot; &045; Alcorn State University, as its president Dr. Clinton Bristow calls it &045; celebrated its 132nd commencement Saturday.

Bristow opened the ceremony by praising &uot;the home of champions and scholars.&uot;

On the eve of Mother’s Day, Bristow told graduates to give the half of their first paychecks to their mothers and the second half to any other family member.

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&uot;Give the second paycheck to Alcorn,&uot; Bristow said. &uot;And the third you can keep.&uot;

Federal Judge Henry T. Wingate, president of the U.S. District Judges Association for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, served as keynote speaker.

Wingate said he witnessed his first college graduation in 1963 when his sister graduated from Alcorn, and from that point vowed he, too, would become a college graduate.

At his sister’s graduation, Wingate said, he stood in the back of the crowd and now that he’s standing in the front it completes the circle.

Wingate used his personal story to encourage graduates to take notice of their own family members and motivate them to receive higher education.

Wingate also told the hard-life story of 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who despite all his early failures stayed motivated and eventually reached his goal.

&uot;Always keep your eye on the prize, make sure that you are conscious of the peer pressure and if you fall, you will get back up because you will recognize that God has a special plan for you,&uot; Wingate said.

&uot;If you do right, you are on God’s side and you’ll be in the majority; God is always in the majority.&uot;

About 600 candidates received degrees on the associate, baccalaureate, master’s and specialist levels. About 46 nursing students were among the graduates to receive a degree in that field.

Alfred Galtney of Lorman received the Award for Excellence for his academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities and special recognitions. The award is the highest honor a student can receive when graduating on the baccalaureate level.

Additionally, several students from the Department of Military Science received commissions as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. U.S. Army Col. James Bosley, senior analyst, Air & Missile Defense, Computer Sciences Corporation, Arlington, Va., presided over the ceremony.

Dr. John E. Walls, president of Alcorn State University National Alumni Association, inducted the graduating class into the alumni association and presented the Alcornite of the Year to James &uot;Bo&uot; Clark of Forest

The Alcornite of the Year honor is the highest award given to distinguished alumni of the university.

The Golden Diplomas were awarded to 51 graduates of Alcorn Class of 1953.

Robert Gage IV, president of River Hills Bank in Port Gibson and chairman of the board of directors for the ASU Foundation, presented the university with a $30,000 donation on behalf of Nissan Canton. The donation is the first part of a $150,000 pledge.

&uot;The gift signifies the emphasis Nissan places on higher education,&uot; Dave Boyer, vice president of manufacturing for Nissan Canton, said.

&uot;Nissan’s donation of $30,000 will support Alcorn’s environmental science program,&uot; he said.

Nissan is also making $30,000 contributions during the months of April and May to Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University and Tougaloo College. These donations are part of a $1 million commitment Nissan has made to higher education in Mississippi.