ASU Celebrates 152nd Birthday & State’s Bicentennial
By Hazel Scott/ASU Media Relations
Alabama State University marked its 152 years as an institution and commemorated Alabama’s Bicentennial with a celebration and a ceremony, titled “ASU 152nd Birthday & Alabama Bicentennial Bash.” The event was held on Thursday, July 18, the exact date that the ASU founders opened Lincoln Normal School, now Alabama State University, in Marion, Ala. in 1867.
ASU President Quinton T. Ross Jr. hosted the double anniversary event at ASU’s John Garrick Hardy Student Center Ballroom, where special comments were made by the Director of ASU Alumni Affairs, Rev. Cromwell Handy; SGA President David Whitlow Jr. and freshman student Maria McCall, a member of the Inaugural Montgomery to Marion Freshman Pilgrimage.
“I often tell people that the wisdom of nine freed slaves with $500 charted the course for an institution such as this one. God has sustained us for 152 years. That’s something to be happy about, that’s something to celebrate,” Ross said.
During Ross’ greetings, he introduced a delegation from the Ivory Coast of Africa who was on campus to help celebrate this momentous day.
“The president of the International University of the Grand-Bassam, Saliou Toure, his board chairman and all of his delegation traveled far to witness our 152nd birthday. So we are excited that they are here and excited about the partnership that we will establish,” Ross said.
The event's keynote speaker, Joseph Caver, historian and ASU adjunct history professor, discussed ASU’s 152-year story of grit, determination and innovation and its ties to the civil rights movement. He noted that the University left its mark on each protest, march and sit-in that happened during the movement.
ASU pride was alive and well as Handy led the audience in several ASU chants, including “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, State!”
That Ol’ Bama State Spirit remained high as ASU SKYCAP students waved shakers and handmade signs and banners while leading the audience in singing Happy Birthday to ASU and the state of Alabama. A group of SKYCAP students recited the names of the Marion Nine -- Joey P. Pinch, Thomas Speed, Nicholas Dale, James Childs, Thomas Lee, John Freeman, Nathan Levert, David Harris and Alexander H. Curtis – the founders who started the nation’s first state-sponsored liberal arts institution for the higher education of blacks, beginning ASU’s rich history as a “Teacher’s College.”
The celebration also included the singing of the University Hymn by Dr. Wendy Coleman, chairwoman of the ASU Theatre Department. After her performance, the audience was served refreshments of ASU themed cupcakes.
Ross said ASU’s celebration of Alabama’s Bicentennial (which was also celebrated at the event) is a commemoration of the University’s role in the state’s storied history.
“If it wasn’t an Alabama, there would be no Alabama State. So we have to recognize the bicentennial for the state of Alabama to truly celebrate the 152 years that this prestigious institution has been around,” Ross said. “ASU's roots run deep in the state and this community, and this event is an opportunity to celebrate all that has been great in our first 152 years and lays the foundation for 152 more years of growth and prosperity for this great institution,” Ross said.
The celebration culminated on a high note with the community, alumni, ASU faculty, staff and students paying tribute to the enduring spirit of the University founders and to the visionary men and women who are a part of the past, present and promise of ASU.