An evening of music honoring Alcorn State University’s 20th President Dr. Felecia M. Nave will highlight this year’s Purple and Gold Scholarship Gala sponsored by the Meridian/Lauderdale Alcorn State University Alumni Chapter.
Scheduled for Friday, April 24, at the MSU Riley Center in downtown Meridian, the annual gala is the primary fundraiser for the local alumni chapter’s scholarship fund. Each year, the Meridian/Lauderdale ASU Alumni Chapter awards “First Generation” scholarships to students who plan to attend Alcorn State University.
“We try to award at least five $1,000-college scholarships each year to students from our area who plan to attend Alcorn in the fall semester,” Meridian/Lauderdale Alcorn State University Alumni Chapter President Wilbert L. Jones said.
Host for the evening is Rita Brent from “Comedy Central” and the Rickey Smiley Tour. Other special guests will include: Dr. Dave Miller, director of the ASU Band Jazz Ensemble; ASU Administrator L.L. Juana Weir; Kimberly Morgan-Myles, a former Miss Alcorn and Mississippi 2007; and performer Charles “CC” Carter.
About Dr. Felecia M. Nave
As the 20th president of Alcorn State University, Dr. Felecia M. Nave is chief executive officer of the nation’s oldest public land-grant HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Nave has administrative oversight for Alcorn’s 1,700-acre Lorman campus and branch locations in Natchez and Vicksburg.
Prior to her current appointment, Nave served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at North Carolina Central University, where she was the university's chief academic officer, developing, managing and providing oversight for all academic degree programs. The university includes seven colleges and schools, including a law school. The university enrolls approximately 8,100 students, supported by more than 564 full-time and part-time faculty and more than 450 professional and administrative staff.
In addition, Nave provided leadership of the existing inventory of degree programs, development of new degree programs and fully online programs, ensuring academic rigor and integrity and supervised program and accreditation reviews, both regional and specialized. She also supervised scholarship and key research activity for the university in collaboration with the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Sponsored Programs. Her responsibilities included fundraising activities, expanding external partnerships and growing alumni relations. She also managed all student services functions, including recruitment, admission, registrar, financial aid, academic engagement and student success.
Prior to joining North Carolina Central University, Nave served in various academic and administrative roles at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, from 2003-2018. These roles included tenure-track Assistant Professor, tenured Associate Professor, tenured Professor of Chemical Engineering, Interim Assistant Dean of the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Director of Special Initiative for Faculty Development.
Nave's awards include University of Toledo Department of Chemical Engineering Outstanding Alumna Award, 2019; AICHE MAC Eminent Scholars Award, 2017; Top 30 Influential Women of Houston Award, 2015; Who's Who in Black Houston, 2015; and Diverse Issues Emerging Scholars Under 40, 2013.
Nave graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Alcorn State University in 1996. She holds a master's degree in chemical and environmental engineering and a doctorate in engineering, both from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio.
She is married to Tracie Nave and they have four children: Jaylon, Justin, Kennedy and Jonathan.
About Rita Brent
A comedienne, musician and military veteran based in Jackson, Rita Brent had enjoyed an 11-year career in public radio when she quit in 2017 to do stand-up comedy full-time.
Since that leap of faith, Brent has been featured on “Hart of the City” (Comedy Central), starred in truTV’s “Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks,” was recognized by Thrillist as The Best Undiscovered Comedian in Mississippi, and tours as a feature act with her mentor, stand-up comedian, television host, actor and radio personality Rickey Smiley.
Brent recently represented her home state as the headlining comedian at the historic Apollo Theater in New York. She is working toward touring internationally as a stand-up comedienne while also incorporating her musical talents. Brent is a part-time drummer at her home church, plays with local bands, and just returned from a three-week music tour in Africa, curated by “American Music Abroad” and the U.S. Embassy.
About First Generation Scholarship
To be considered for a Meridian/Lauderdale County Alumni Chapter of Alcorn State University First Generation Scholarship, applicants have to meet the following criteria:
• Be a graduate of a Meridian-Lauderdale area high school (first priority will be given to Meridian-Lauderdale County students, but other Mississippi county students may apply).
• Must have a minimum of 2.75 GPA
• Must have an ACT score of 18
• Been accepted as a student at Alcorn
• Submit a completed application
About Meridian/Lauderdale Alumni chapter
The Meridian/Lauderdale Alcorn State University Alumni Chapter was chartered in January 1975 and founded by Rudolph Fairley, Allie Faye Turner, Leonard Turner, Emmanuel Barnes and Dr. Hargie Crenshaw.
According to Jones, the local alumni chapter is all about Alcorn.
“Each of US can make a positive difference for Alcorn, but there are even greater differences that only we as a group can make,” chapter president Wilbert L. Jones said. “Truly, Alcornites must pull together because together we got more pull. ‘We the people’ gives a message that is much more powerful than ‘I the person.’”
Jones said the alumni chapter’s purpose is to promote unified efforts toward the welfare of Alcorn State University and its alumni to recruit and enlist students with high qualifications for Alcorn State University," Jones continued.
"Our mission is to foster and enhance the relationship between Alcorn State University alumni, current and prospective students, and friends in the Meridian-Lauderdale County and surrounding areas,” he said.
Alcorn State University was named 2014 SWAC 2015 Back2Back Champions and HBCU (Historic Black Colleges and Universities) of the Year in 2012 and a finalist in 2013. According to Jones, the university’s enrollment has grown to more than 4,000 talented students.
“We want to be known as more than a great Historically Black College and University,” he said. “We want to be known as a great university. We are growing our reputation for excellence in academics. We’re scoring gains in athletics. We’re building on our land-grant tradition with advances in agricultural research and education. And we are advancing access to Alcorn through community outreach and an emphasis on diversity.”
About Alcorn State University
The rankings and accolades for Alcorn State University continue to grow as the university was listed in five national and regional categories by U.S. News and World Report in their 2020 Best Colleges Rankings. Alcorn maintained a solid showing as it was once again ranked among the top 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the nation for offering a high-quality education.
Alcorn ranks 23rd on U. S. News & World Report’s Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities list for 2020. The university also ranks 36th on the Top Public Schools Regional South list and 53rd in the website’s new category, the Top Performers on Social Mobility South list. Alcorn ranks 64th on the First-Year Experiences list and jumped seven spots (89) from last year to 82nd in the Best Regional Universities South category.
ASU President Dr. Felecia M. Nave credits the brilliance of the university’s students, faculty, staff and alumni and their work in helping the university reach high levels of success and recognition.
“Alcorn State University is world renown for our consistent excellence in higher education,” Nave said. “From our amazing professors to our scholarly students and dedicated staff and alumni, Alcorn offers an exceptional campus experience and are proud to once again receive recognition as one of the best institutions of higher learning in the nation.”
U.S. News & World Report is a multi-platform publisher of news and information, which includes www.usnews.com and annual print and e-book versions of its authoritative rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools and Best Hospitals. In 2012 U.S. News launched a conference division focusing on important national conversations and solutions in STEM Education and Healthcare of Tomorrow. To view Alcorn’s rankings, visit the U.S. News and World Report website.
ASU’s new programs include a master’s in applied science and technology, and its School of Business has achieved important levels in accreditation. The university’s researchers have discovered a novel plant-based method of lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol, and other Alcorn scientists are investigating the use of bamboo as a biofuel.
“However, we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re reaching even higher,” Nave said. “We want to be known as more than a great Historically Black College and University; we want to be known as a great university. We are growing our reputation for excellence in academics. We’re scoring gains in athletics. We’re building on our land-grant tradition with advances in agricultural research and education. And we are advancing access to Alcorn through community outreach and an emphasis on diversity.”
Want to go?
What: Annual Purple and Gold Gala hosted by Meridian/Lauderdale Alcorn State University Alumni Chapter
When: Friday, April 24, 7 p.m.
Where: MSU Riley Center, 2200 Fifth St., downtown Meridian
Tickets: $60, individual; $550, reserved table of eight
Information: Wilbert L. Jones, 601-917-4330 or email@example.com