Founders' Day Event to be Held at ASU's Dunn-Oliver Acadome

News Date
Jo Ann Robinson Residence Hall.jpg
ASU's iconic Jo Ann Robinson Residence Hall (photo by David Campbell/ASU).

Feb. 2:

Founders' Day Event to be Held at ASU's Dunn-Oliver Acadome

By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU

Alabama State University’s 124th Founders' Day Convocation will be held in-person on February 2 (Friday) at 10 a.m. in the ASU Dunn-Oliver Acadome. The event is free and open to the public.


The keynote speaker for the Founders’ Day Convocation is Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin who entered his second term as mayor on November 23, 2021. Woodfin earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College and his Juris Doctor degree from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law. 

Like ASU President Quinton T. Ross, Jr., Woodfin also is a proponent of a "CommUniversity" style of leadership, as evidenced by his concept, titled "The Birmingham Promise," which is a public-private partnership that provides apprenticeships and tuition assistance to cover college costs for Birmingham's high school graduates. He also has led a regional effort to invest in the renovation and expansion of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, making the city an emerging destination for sports and other entertainment venues. Woodfin also initiated an innovative program called "Pardons for Progress," which focused on the removal of employment barriers for 15,000 Birmingham residents who had city misdemeanor marijuana possession charges, dating back to 1990.

"My focuses are enhancing education for young people, fostering a climate of economic opportunity for all residents and leveraging public-private partnerships to make the city the best version of Birmingham, which it can be," Woodfin said.


ASU is a well respected global entity of higher education due in part to the fortitude of a group of formerly enslaved men, known as the Marion Nine, who founded what is now Alabama State University on July 18, 1867 in Marion, Ala.

On Feb. 2, ASU's Founders' Day will commemorate the co-founders and original trustees of this great institution, which are the nine former slaves (freed men) who founded itJoey P. Pinch, Thomas Speed, Nicholas Dale, James Childs, Thomas Lee, John Freeman, Nathan Levert, David Harris and Alexander H. Curtis.

First incorporated as the Lincoln Normal School, ASU became America’s first state-sponsored liberal arts institution for the higher education of Black citizens, beginning ASU’s rich history first as a teacher’s college. William Burns Paterson, ASU’s longest-serving president, was appointed to the position in 1878 and held the office for 37 of its first 48 years. Founders’ Day is traditionally held on or near Paterson’s birthday in honor of his being recognized  as the “architect” of the modern Alabama State University because he was instrumental in its move from Marion to Montgomery in 1887, explained Cromwell Handydirector of ASU's Office of Alumni Relations. 

"The legacy set forth by the Marion Nine, William Burns Paterson and other key founders and developers of the University, as continued by President Ross, endures even now," Handy stated. "Today, ASU is a comprehensive institution of higher education with high-demand graduate and undergraduate programs in multiple academic disciplines and is proud to be the University ‘Where History is Made," he added.

News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.