Friday, September 09, 2011
Echoed throughout SC State University’s Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center was this year’s fall convocation theme: “Reaffirming Scholarship: The Passport to Unlimited Possibilities.” Held Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, the fall convocation ceremony constituted the University’s official opening of the new academic year.
Student Government Association (SGA) president, Austin Floyd, and A’Deana Jones, Miss South Carolina State University, welcomed faculty, staff and new students to the 24th annual convocation ceremony. They then informed students of various academic and student clubs, organizations and athletic programs present on campus.
Immediately following was the dynamic speech of The Honorable Alisha Thomas Morgan, state representative for Cobb County, Ga. Morgan informed the freshmen of seven principles that she would like to leave with them regarding their theme.
“Number one is to remember your passion and purpose. It’s a statistic that says 85 percent of people go to a job that they do not enjoy. One of my challenges for you this afternoon is when you think about a major that you are going to choose, find what you are most passionate about, that thing that drives you to get up and say this is why I am living, this is why I want to give and contribute to society,” stressed Morgan.
She went on to tell how preparation and perseverance are important for students’ educational and life journey. “Number two is to prepare. Understand that this experience, going to college and taking classes and experiencing traveling abroad, all of the opportunities are preparation for your future, for the great things ahead of you. Number three is to persevere. I know many of you can understand what I mean by persevere because like me some of you are probably first generation college students. You are to be commended.”
As Morgan touched on her other four points, she reminded students to “pull as they climb, be sure to pray, not to make permanent decisions in temporary situations and last but not least, her favorite, believe in possibilities. “Whatever your passion or purpose is, the thing that you decided to do with your life when people say you can’t do that, nobody has done that before, you have to remember that anything is possible, and if you don’t believe me, ask a man named Barack Obama who grew up in a single parent home, who wasn’t supposed to make it, who didn’t wait his turn but decided to do something that other people said he could not do,” she expressed. “I think we call him President of the United States don’t we, because that’s what happens when you believe in possibilities.”
Morgan concluded with her personal testament of possibilities. A courageous champion for justice, equality and empowering communities, she made history at age 23 by becoming the first African American to serve in the Georgia House of Representatives for Cobb County. She was elected to her fifth term in 2010, winning over 73 percent of the vote at age 32. She still remains one of the youngest members of the entire Georgia General Assembly. Morgan is also considered a trailblazing architect for change.
“I want to remind you that I am an example just as you are an example of what is possible, but this is only the beginning, because if you are to reaffirm scholarship and stand in the legacy of the many scholars who have come before you, if you stand in the legacy of those professors who are here this afternoon who will sew into your lives for the next four years, you must remember a few things.”
Reiterating her seven points and reading a quote from Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, Morgan says, “every person is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive, and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.” she shared. “It is not by accident that you are part of the class of 2015, but you have an opportunity to do things that you have never done, because the possibilities are unlimited.”
At the conclusion of the convocation, Dr. Joyce Blackwell, vice president of academic affairs, challenged the class of 2015 to accept the gift of education and to take advantage of it. Christopher Eley, freshman class president, accepted the challenge on behalf of his class.