Special to The Mississippi Link
LORMAN – Alcorn State University President M. Christopher Brown II continues to be recognized as a pioneer leader and Saturday, June 28, at the Center for HBCU Media Advocacy’s third annual HBCU Awards he captured the title of Male HBCU President of the Year.
Myrlie Evers-Williams, a distinguished scholar-in-residence at Alcorn, was honored as Female HBCU Faculty Member of the Year. She teaches social justice seminars, advises senior research papers, and interacts individually with students, encouraging them to succeed in their studies and passion for social justice and equality.
Brown, who in 2010 at the age of 39 became the youngest HBCU president in the nation, had his contract extended in 2012 by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. Known for his clear vision: “Our goal is to be known not only as a great HBCU, but as a great university,” Brown boldly declared during an interview on ESPN concerning his hiring of the first non-black football coach in the SWAC.
While at Alcorn, Brown has led the university to focus its efforts on four pillars of excellence in the areas of academics, agriculture, athletics and access, energizing the alumni and donor bases, and revitalizing Alcorn’s institutional brand within the national higher education landscape.
“Alcorn was named the 2012 HBCU of the Year and now my president is the Male President of the Year,” said Andre Marshall ’13 of Jackson, Mississippi with pride while in attendance with fellow Alcornites at the awards ceremony.
“President Brown has taught us to imagine our HBCU differently. Under his leadership, we have experienced record gains in fundraising, enrollment and alumni participation. We realize that ‘We are Alcorn’ it means more to us – we can do more for Alcorn. We are living brands for our institution. I thank him for instilling that in my classmates and me.”
During his acceptance speech Brown recognized his fellow honorees and shared fond stories of his colleagues influence on his life. Brown also acknowledged his proactive administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of Alcorn for their uncompromising dedication to Alcorn excellence.
The Center also bestowed upon Evers-Williams the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to our nation. Evers-Williams was born in Vicksburg in 1933 and later enrolled in what was then Alcorn A&M College where she met and fell in love with Medgar Evers.
She often has been applauded for working with Medgar, the NAACP field secretary, during the 1960s. They fought for voter rights, to end segregation in schools and public places and to integrate the University of Mississippi. Their work attracted threats from segregationists. She and her children were home when Byron de la Beckwith assassinated him. She moved her family away from Jackson after Beckwith was acquitted twice, but continued working for justice.
Evers-Williams moved her family to California where she twice ran for Congress and enjoyed a successful business career. She was also the first African-American woman to serve on the Board of Public Works in Los Angeles.
She continued to fight for justice in Medgar Evers’ death. When the case was retried in 1994, Evers-Williams and her children were present to witness the event that attracted national and international attention.
Evers-Williams later served as chairwoman of the NAACP’s National Board of Directors.
Evers-Williams continues the civil rights work she started with her husband in Mississippi during the 1960s. Her work has earned her international acclaim, the opportunity to deliver the invocation at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration and numerous awards and honorary doctorates.
“I thank my Alcorn family and President Brown for bringing me home,” said Evers-Williams, as she discussed the recently dedicated statue of Medgar Evers on the campus of Alcorn State. “It’s great to inspire young minds and do it on the campus where my life’s work began.”
In recognizing Alcorn’s achievements, Jarrett L. Carter Sr., founder and executive director of the Center for HBCU Media Advocacy said, “President Brown’s bold decisions have propelled Alcorn State University in the national spotlight. These honors are well-deserved, and the Center appreciates the legacy of Myrlie Evers and the work she continues to do not only for HBCUs, but our nation and the world.”
Alcorn’s seven nominations reflect high achievements among students, programs and leaders.
- Best Student Organization — Alcorn State University Diversity Champions Best
- Alumni Publication — Alcorn,the Magazine
- Best Research Center — Alcorn State University Center for Conservation Researc
- Best Nursing Program — Alcorn State University School of Nursing
- Female Faculty Member of the Year — Myrlie Evers Williams
- Male President of the Year — Dr. M. Christopher Brown
- HBCU of the Year — Alcorn State University