Mississippi Valley State University held its 71st Commencement Ceremony Saturday morning in the R.W. Harrison Complex, and 230 undergraduate and 45 graduate students crossed the stage to receive their degrees.
MVSU alum Dr. Trina N. George, State Director-Rural Development with the Mississippi United States Department of Agriculture, was the keynote speaker and told graduates to "live their story."
George, filled with a passion for serving her community, credited Congressman Bennie Thompson for pushing her to further her education when she worked on his staff.
"Congressman Thompson pushed me, and my mom, who is no longer here, instilled in me a love for my fellow man, my family, and a strong sense of my spirituality," said Dr. George. I know I could not have made it this far without some spirituality to hold on to," she added.
The graduates also learned the value of a college education and why George is thankful that her path brought her to MVSU. "It was here at MVSU where I was put on the right path to which degrees I needed to get," Dr. George said.
The questions George posed to graduates of all backgrounds were simple. What will your story be? How will you be able to guide and direct yourself? How will you keep yourself humble, grounded, and honest?
In understanding their story, George informed graduates that it was more than a setting, characters, plot, drama, and theme; it was life.
"Your story is your life, and you will have monumental moments. Graduation can seem like a crescendo, but it's not. You are not even in the first chapter of your story. There is more left to write, develop, and memorialize about who you are and who you are yet to become," Dr. George explained. You should know that your story will not start and end at the same place and make sure the characters in your story have a high character," she added.
Dr. George told all in attendance that as they move forward in life, to "be self-aware, know your boundaries, know when it's time to walk away and know when it's time to come back. Learn how to communicate, be patient, and take time to reflect," She explained.
Dr. George also expressed to the graduates the importance of understanding the role of the people who helped get them to where they are.
"I do not doubt that you all are in this very moment are your ancestors' great dreams manifested," she said.
George had all graduates take out their cell phones and take two minutes to call someone who was not in the room that helped them get to where they were and say, "Thank you."
Several graduates shared sentiments about their time at MVSU.
Jashayla Hunter, Indianola, MS., Bachelor of Social Work, said, "MVSU was family oriented from day one. I'll forever be grateful for the lifelong sisters, friendships, and bonds I've created over the past four years. I've come, I've cried, I've conquered. Thank you, dear ole MVSU."
Emmanuel Asuquo, Mr. MVSU (2022-23) Computer Science and Mathematics major from Lagos, Nigeria, said, "Being at Valley opened so many opportunities for me, and I can say it was a great experience."
Heidi Hankins, Sociology Major from Charleston, MS., said, "Mississippi Valley State University has taught me what it is to be resilient and confident in my ability to be my strongest advocate. For that, I will always be grateful to my HBCU."
De'Nautis Liddell, a Mass Communication major from Jackson, MS., said, "Transferring to Thee Educational Oasis of the Mississippi Delta has been truly a blessing. MVSU has taught me many great things, and I thank God for taking me in this direction to be part of this family."
Latavia Williams, Mass Communication, from Greenwood, MS., said, "Valley has been my home away from home for the last four years. I am so thankful for everything MVSU has given me and can't wait to see what the future holds."
Albert Jackson, a Mathematics major from Jackson, MS., said, "MVSU has helped me blossom into the best version of myself by not only challenging me but helping me along the way."
Other 2023 MVSU Student Graduation Spotlights are on the MVSU Facebook page!!!