Alcorn State to have one of the largest graduating classes in the school’s history

Published 1:44 pm Saturday, April 21, 2007

U.S. Representative Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee will deliver Alcorn’s Commencement 2007 Address to an Anticipated 625 Students on May 12.

An anticipated graduating class of 625 students across approximately four dozen academic disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels will listen as United States Representative Bennie G. Thompson, who represents Mississippi’s Second Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, delivers this year’s Commencement address on the institution’s main campus in Lorman, on Saturday, May 12, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

This year’s class continues to make Alcorn history in that the institution has consistently graduated larger and larger classes over the years — a direct reflection of one of the institution’s core principles of not only recruiting top students from around the nation and world, but ensuring that they ultimately graduate as well. Another piece of Alcorn history this year will be the presence of Congressman Thompson himself, who by virtue of the results of last November’s mid-term elections has ascended to the chairmanship of one of the most powerful committees in all of Congress.

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This year’s Commencement speaker, Congressman Thompson, is no stranger to Alcorn. He has visited the campus on numerous occasions and in the past has served as Grand Marshal of Alcorn’s Homecoming parade. Throughout, he has remained a very vocal advocate across Mississippi and on Capitol Hill promoting the interests and continued growth of historically black colleges and universities, including Alcorn. In 1975, he filed a lawsuit to increase funding at Mississippi’s historically black universities. With Congressman Thompson as lead plaintiff, the case was settled in 2004 for an unprecedented $503 million.

Congressman Thompson is now serving his eighth term in Congress and his third term on the Homeland Security Committee. Mississippi’s Second District stretches from Tunica in the north to Jefferson County in the south and all points in-between, creating a rare blend of agricultural economies and bustling city life.

“Congressman Thompson has always been an ardent and uncompromising champion for Alcorn State University and the institution’s ongoing quest to serve as the higher education institution of choice in the region,” said W. Christopher Cason, Alcorn State University Director of University Relations. “He is the kind of role model with whom the administration wants to have share ideas and thoughts with our students. Not only is his life characterized by various successes, it is also a life committed to service both near and abroad.”

Congressman Thompson has spent his entire adult life giving a voice to the voiceless. With 39 years of continuous public service, he is the longest-serving African-American elected official in the state of Mississippi. His reputation as a no-nonsense problem solver has earned him the trust of his constituents and the respect of his colleagues in Washington, D.C. In 2000, Congressman Thompson’s legislation creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities became law.

Long considered a leading voice on civil rights, equal education and healthcare reform, Congressman Thompson has helped to make a real difference in the lives of his constituents. He served on the Agriculture, Budget and Small Business Committees before assuming the top Democratic position on Homeland Security in 2005.

The 136th Annual Commencement of Alcorn State University takes place on Saturday, May 12, 2007, beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Jack Spinks Stadium on the institution’s main campus, which is located at 1000 ASU Drive in Lorman, Mississippi. For more information, contact the institution’s Office of University Relations at (601) 877-6131.