Ross Delivers Message of ‘Triumph in the New Normal’ during Fall Convocation
On Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, Alabama State University President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross Jr., called upon Hornet Nation to continue to be triumphant in the face of exceptional circumstances.
The President’s encouragement was expressed during the University’s first-ever Virtual Fall Convocation. The event allowed Ross to address Hornet Nation during this unprecedented time of COVID-19 and outline his vision and expectations for the academic year.
Ross stressed that ASU may never go back to “normal,” but the University is “Embracing the New Normal and Moving ASU Forward.”
“Through the tragedy, adversity and disappointments that we all have experienced during 2020, ASU is still here. And I am pleased to report that the state of The Alabama State University is well even in the midst of a pandemic.” Ross said. “Every day brings opportunities to move ASU forward.”
Ross took a moment to recognize members of the ASU family who lost their lives this year and to honor the memories of Congressman John Lewis and the Rev. Robert Graetz, two civil rights icons. He also spoke of the civil unrest caused by the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“We have experienced tragedy, but as a University who has had its own share of tragedy, adversity and disappointment over a 153-year history, my fellow Hornets, we remain triumphant. O’ Mother Dear’s triumphant strength comes from the resilience of her administration, her faculty, staff, students and alumni who refuse to yield to the jaws of disappointment, adversity or tragedy,” Ross said. “But with our determination to rise to the occasion and remain triumphant, our Hornet Nation will always choose triumph over defeat.”
Ross acknowledged that having to close the campus in March due to the threat of the coronavirus caused disappointments many students, especially those who had expected to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas in May.
“Good news. There will be in-person Commencement Ceremonies for Fall 2020 and Spring 2020 graduates and the Golden Class of 1970 in November. They were not able to walk across the stage because of the pandemic but we are thrilled that they will be able to do so now,” Ross said.
Safety, Ross emphasized, is one of ASU’s main priorities.
“If you look at the steps we have taken to keep us protected from Covid-19, I can’t say or thank enough Dr. Lloyd-Davis and her nursing staff, and all the others that had the wherewithal to put together such a wonderful testing program that is second to none in the nation. It has been recognized all over the country. LSU was here last week to see what ASU was doing to help keep our number of COVID-19 count down to a bare minimum.”
As for enrollment, Ross said it is stable.
“When all others were predicting that we would be down in enrollment, when all others are suffering being down in enrollment, we have met our projected mark because of all of the hard work of individuals who have continuously worked to ensure that we got the message out to come to ASU to be a part of our family,” Ross said.
The Fall Convocation is a longstanding tradition that brings the University community together each year to welcome a diverse group of students from across the country and nation, and to celebrate academic tradition and excellence.
Ross also gave viewers a laundry list of some of the University’s achievements: ASU’s rating by Moody’s Investors Service was upgraded to “stable” and what that means to ASU; the enhancement of online and hybrid classes; the University’s acquirement of state-of-the-art technology to help spot Covid-19 symptoms, making the ASU first in the nation to do so; the successful virtual visit by the reaffirmation committee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) ; changing student demographics; improvements on campus; exciting partnership opportunities; increased fundraising; and new University initiatives and growth.
The President also spoke about ASU’s strategic priorities, values and core principles.
Though the ceremony was virtual, it still maintained the grandeur of past traditional ceremonies. The Convocation included virtual performances by the University Choir and the Mighty Marching Hornets Band, special musical selections, the posting of the colors and inspiring speeches from special guests.
“The virtual ceremony is a way of staying connected and showing how the University is rising to the challenge of envisioning new ways of teaching, delivering information and giving back to support our communities,” Ross said.
Ross implored students, faculty and staff to continue to adapt their behaviors to maximize the health and safety of all, which includes wearing masks, social distancing and washing their hands repeatedly.
“We are one ASU because we are in this together,” Ross exclaimed. “Because we chose to be triumphant and chose to accept the new normal, and chose to accept our testing protocol on campus, as well as follow the mandatory mask rules, Alabama State University is alive and well. We are triumphant. The Hornet Family has stepped up to protect their own. We will remain resilient and resolute in our efforts to continue our mission of preparing the nation’s next generation of global leaders.”
The Fall Convocation was live streamed on ASU’s official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/asu.