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Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Globe Newswire
Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Big Impact and Shattered Glass: The Inauguration of Dr. Felecia M. Nave

May 12, 2021 GMT
Dr. Felecia M. Nave, 20th President, Alcorn State University
Dr. Felecia M. Nave, 20th President, Alcorn State University
Dr. Felecia M. Nave, 20th President, Alcorn State University

Lorman, Mississippi, May 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dr. Felecia McInnis Nave was formally inaugurated as Alcorn State University’s 20th president and first female president on April 16, 2021, in Lorman, Mississippi. This historic moment came nearly two years after Nave was named president, due to COVID-19, and in the same year that the university celebrates its 150th anniversary.

“I am not here by accident. And I am also not here solely because of my own efforts. I lead because the legacy of Alcorn’s past has enabled me to envision the promise of our future,” Nave said in her investiture address.

Alcorn is the oldest public historically Black land-grant institution in the United States and the second-oldest state-supported institution of higher learning in Mississippi. Alcorn University was founded in 1871 as a result of the people of Mississippi’s efforts to educate the descendants of formerly enslaved Africans as part of the Morrill Act of 1862.

Throughout the inauguration events, Nave boldly spoke to the importance of learning from others, sharing your gifts, and always bringing people along for the purpose of making a greater impact. She paid tribute to the many Alcorn alums who have paved the way for her presidency –  including Myrlie and Medgar Evers, Katie G. Dorsett, and Commissioner Willie Simmons – and leaned into her own experiences as an Alcorn alum and a female in male-dominated fields, both critical parts of her identity that guide her leadership today.

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She also credited the community for their progress and applauded them for welcoming the first female president at this particular moment in time. “It takes courage to break a ceiling – it also requires a willing community who sees that shattered glass as a new floor and not a mess,” Nave said.

The investiture ceremony brought together 23 delegates from institutions around the country, including learned societies and an athletic commissioner; and two Mississippi state senators, one representative from the statehouse, three mayors, five of seven Mississippi IHL college presidents, six state IHL board members, and the IHL Commissioner. “This gathering of leaders was significant for countless reasons, not the least of which was this moment in time when Alcorn makes their mark as a premier HBCU,” said Larry Orman, Vice President of Marketing and Communication at Alcorn State University.

“Alcornites have figured out – for 150 years – how to excel and defy odds while remaining humble and supportive of one another; how to bring people along, ensuring our success is a shared success; and how to choose courage for the sake of impact again and again, even when courage means we aren’t taking the easy route,” Nave said.

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Nave’s presidency so far has been marked by a series of unprecedented events on state, national, and global levels. Despite those hurdles, she has already made significant strides that make an enormous impact on the university’s vitality and sustainability. “This year has tested our resilience and response. But more notably, it has proven our commitment to the mission and vision of the university,” Nave said.

In the 19 months she has been in the role, Alcorn has safely and successfully held in-person classes during the pandemic; received a $25 million unrestricted gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott; testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research; and launched a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

An engineer and chemist by training, Nave hit the ground running with sound, innovative systems that have already propelled the institution into the next 150 years as a leader in higher education. “Dr. Nave’s character, work ethic, and skillset are the ideal combination for Alcorn at this point in their history,” Dr. Ontario S. Wooden, Alcorn Provost, said. “The incredible impact she has already made is just the beginning of her solidifying Alcorn’s place as a premier institution.”

Alcorn is an institution that greatly outperforms what the research dollars and operations associated with the university’s name might suggest. The school’s history and exceptional staff position them to be a premier institution that leads across the full spectrum of our offerings. While the student population is smaller than that of other Mississippi state institutions, Alcorn graduates leave with an education that allows them to thrive in a competitive global market.

This month, Alcorn will celebrate its 150th anniversary. This university, which will indeed become a household name across the nation in the years to come, enrolls nearly 3,200 full- and part-time undergraduates and graduates across three Mississippi campuses. Those who know Alcorn are deeply rooted.

“I will always fight the good fight – not the popular fight, but the right fight. Here’s to the next 150 years of shattered glass, academic excellence, purposeful impact, and lifelong membership into the Alcorn family,” Nave said.

 

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Larry Orman Alcorn State University 601-877-6130 news@alcorn.edu