Alumnus Dr. Claude Perkins Charges Graduates to Tap into the Secret of MVSU

May 6, 2017

Dr. William B. Bynum Jr., MVSU president, awards the Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Dr. Claude G. Perkins, 12th president of Virginia Union University.

During its 65th Commencement Exercises, Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) bestowed its highest honor to Dr. Claude G. Perkins, 12th president of Virginia Union University (VUU). 

Perkins received the Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Dr. William B. Bynum Jr, MVSU president, after delivering the commencement address to over 400 graduates. He graduated from MVSU in 1964 with a degree in political science.

This year’s valedictorian was Mariana Balbao, a business administration major, who maintained a 3.99 grade point average.

Perkins provided graduates with tools that have led him through an esteemed career as an educator while serving as superintendent of the 5th largest school district in the nation and leaving retirement to become the 12th president of VUU.

 “I always had a theme that could guide me forward as I assumed different responsibilities,” said Perkins.

“That theme was taken from the last words of David,” he said.  “This is his advice. He that ruleth over man must be just.  That theme has guided me in all of my ups and downs.”

He asked the graduates a couple to questions to help them reflect on their future.

“What is going to guide you forward?,” Perkins asked.  “What’s going to bail you out when you need it? Think about what your theme is going to be.”

His charge to graduates was to tap into the secret of Valley – a secret that has inspired alumni of the University to become doctors, lawyers, business leaders, military generals and teachers.

“You can have goodness and kindness, but the secret that you get at Valley is courage,” said Perkins.

“That secret gives you self-assurance and confidence. That confidence will pick you up when you have fallen down. It will help you conquer fear and be true to yourself. That confidence will keep you composed when others fall apart. That confidence will help you step back and reevaluate your options.  That confidence will help you expand your opportunities. That’s the secret of this institution.”

Perkins informed graduates that without arrogance, you will be able to rise and be respected by all of your peers.