ASU Founders' Week
120th Founders’ Week
February 4-7, 2020
Join us as we honor the memory of our founders during the Founders’ Week celebration!
Read and Rise
Tuesday, February 4
ASU shares the love of reading with students at elementary schools in the Montgomery area and nationwide! Call 334-229-4270 for more information or click here to register to volunteer by January 30.
Click here to register
Celebration of Service
Thursday, February 6 | 11 a.m.
Ralph David Abernathy Auditorium
ASU student organizations pay tribute to the University’s presidents and icons.
Founders’ Day Convocation
Friday, February 7
Pre-Convocation Campus Processional begins at 8:45 a.m.
With ringing of historical bell in front of the Levi Watkins Learning Center
Convocation begins at 10 a.m.
Featuring speaker Ennis F. Tait (’95) and presentation of the 2020 Spirit Awards recognizing notable alumni.
Ennis F. Tait, a graduate of Alabama State University Class of 1995, has spent the last 13 years in the non-profit sector. He served as the executive director for a local early child development center that was awarded a 5-Star rating during his tenure.
In 2006, he founded and directed a local non-profit whose mission was to help build capacity for neighborhoods by restoring families and rebuilding communities. In February 2018, Tait decided to expand his network and continue his ministry and community work under Ennis Tait Ministries (ETM). The mission of ETM is to help advance and support local, state and national initiatives designed to address cultural disparities for all people, especially African Americans. ETM works to promote the power of unity while serving as a voice and vessel for the underrepresented.
Tait is committed to engaging multi-level community advocates, corporate executives, and faith leaders through non-traditional and innovative organizing and outreach strategies for the purpose of addressing racial injustice, inequality and economic equity and inclusion.
Prior to his service in the non-profit sector, Tait worked 15 years in corporate America as a branch analyst for AG Edwards later acquired by Wells Fargo. Today, he leverages this background as activist in multiple community and city-wide initiatives.
Ennis F. Tait has been serving as the pastor of New Beginnings Church of the Living God of Avondale since October of 2018. He previously served as the pastor of the Church of the Living God, CWFF Temple 51 for 15 years and has been serving in ministry for more than 20 years. In July of 2019, he was elevated to the office of bishop by Advancing the Kingdom of God International Ministries based in Torrance, CA.
A Rich Legacy
Alabama State University is the global entity that it is today in part because of the fortitude of nine freed slaves from Marion, Ala. Each year, the ASU family looks back as it continues marching forward, remembering the “Marion Nine” whose foresight in 1867 created what is now Alabama State University. These co-founders and original trustees of this great institution are Joey P. Pinch, Thomas Speed, Nicholas Dale, James Childs, Thomas Lee, John Freeman, Nathan Levert, David Harris and Alexander H. Curtis.
Incorporated July 18, 1867, Lincoln Normal School was founded at Marion in Perry County. In 1873, this predecessor of Alabama State University became America’s first state-sponsored liberal arts institution for the higher education of blacks, beginning ASU’s rich history as a “Teacher’s College.” William Burns Paterson, ASU’s longest-serving president, was appointed in 1878 and held the office of president for 37 of its first 48 years. On his birthday, the University family pauses annually to honor its founders by holding Founders’ Day observances. Traditionally, Paterson has been honored on Founders’ Day as the architect of the modern Alabama State University because he was instrumental in the move from Marion to Montgomery in 1887.
The legacy set forth by the Marion Nine, William Burns Paterson and other key developers endures even now. Today, ASU is a comprehensive regional institution with high-demand graduate and undergraduate programs in multiple academic units including the College of Education, the College of Business Administration, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the College of Health Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Aerospace Studies, University College and the School of Graduate Studies.
History and Tradition
The Spirit Awards
Alabama State University is an institution that is proud of its heritage and honors those visionaries who helped to lay the foundation for the decades of regional, national and international growth that ASU has experienced. In keeping with our celebration of tradition, Alabama State University has established two awards to recognize those alumni and alumni-led organizations that embrace the qualities of the University’s founders.
The Spirit of Marion Award
The Spirit of Marion Award recognizes individuals whose professional efforts have created innovation, positive change or notable advancement in an industry, environment or concept. Like the Marion Nine, the recipient of this award must demonstrate great vision, honorable citizenship and success in the face of challenge.
2009 - Mary Kate Stovall-Tapley
2010 - Joseph Caver
2011 - Tessie Bradford
2012 - Rosie Lee Tubbs-Kynard
2013 - Vaughn Little
2014 - Annette Brooks
2015 - James Catledge
2016 - Gloria Battle
2017 - Howard Watkins
2018 - Thomas "Tommie" Stewart
2019 – Senator Bobby Singleton
The Spirit of Tullibody Award
The Spirit of Tullibody Award is given in honor of Dr. William Burns Paterson, ASU’s longest-serving president who is revered as a brave and forward-thinking pioneer. The Tullibody Award honors alumni who exemplify Dr. Paterson’s estimable qualities by making notable contributions to their communities and to Alabama State University.
2009 - James and Juliette McNeil
2010 - Danny and Bennie Crenshaw
2011 - Herman Harris
2012 - Larry Thornton
2013 - Beatrice “Bea” Forniss
2014 - Vanessa Dickens
2015 - Janet Sutton
2016 - Joseph Bell
2017 - Dr. Vivian DeShields
2018 - Dr. Alma Freeman
2019 – Dr. Joel Jones