On September 10, 2016, the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences’ (AREAS) alumni assembled together at the Center for Ecology and Natural Resources Building on the campus of Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS for the highly anticipated Alumni Day. The purpose of the event was for former graduates of the program to hear from the Dean and Director of Land-grant Programs, Dr. Ivory W. Lyles, as well as each department’s interim chair, and to discuss their plans for increasing support for students, the School, and the University.
Alumni from throughout the state of Mississippi as well as out-of-state were in attendance. The event provided them with a sense of direction as to what the School is moving toward and how they can provide assistance in different ways such as fundraising, recruiting of students and faculty, and offering support for the University.
Dr. Donzell Lee, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs along with Janice Gibson, Director of Development and Alumni Affairs, greeted the crowd with warm welcomes and words of thanks for all of their contributions. “It is always very exciting when alumni respond enthusiastically to the University,” said Gibson.
Interim chairs from the departments within the School of AREAS were present to discuss what was taking place within their units and to ask alumni for their assistance and feedback in order to make each of them better. “We need you to talk to students because you all are the best ambassadors for Alcorn State University,” said Keith McGee, Interim Chair, Biotechnology, “you know us better than anyone else.”
After recognizing alumni and handing out door prizes, Don Smith, Director of Development, School of AREAS, presented the gift of giving which encouraged alumni to continue to donate and contribute to the School so that they may increase scholarships, internships, and scholarship endowments. “We want to reach more students and help our students be better,” said Smith.
A pictorial dedication was later presented to honor distinguished Alcorn alumni such as Dr. William C. Boykins, Sr., Dr. Jesse A. Morris, Sr., Mrs. Eunice M. Davis Powell, and Dr. Kenneth L. Simmons Sr. whose names appear on three buildings within the School. “We didn’t make it alone,” stated Dr. Lyles. “One of our goals is to bring our alumni back home and make sure that they know of the wonderful things happening in the School of AREAS.” Lyles further encouraged alumni to lend their voices and stay connected as well as informed them of the upcoming renovation plans for the Morris-Boykins Agricultural Building.
Following Lyles’ closing remarks, alumni and friends continued with making plans for the improvement of the School and the University. While delighting in good food, fun and fellowship, the attendees decided to focus their attention on increasing enrollment, lobbying for funds, and gaining more support from the alumni.