The Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant visited Mississippi Valley State University Tuesday evening to give the freshmen address during the New Student Orientation Convocation.
The event was held at the H.G. Carpenter Building in the Walter Roberts Auditorium. In addition to the convocation the school also honored the second year students in the Sophomore Charge Rites of Passage Ceremony.
Bryant, who is the pastor of Empowerment Temple Church, in Baltimore shared with the students that being where they are in this moment is where they are supposed to be.
“This is your surprise party that you are in college being the great grandchildren of share croppers,” said Bryant. This is your coming out party,” he added.
Bryant encouraged the students to not take this moment for granted and to understand, “Millions didn’t make it, but you are one of the ones that did,” said Bryant.
“Before you take your seat for granted I hope you realize what an honor it is just to be in this room. Trayvon Martin wish he had your seat, Freddie Gray wish he had your seat, Emmitt Till wish he could have sat in your seat,” said Bryant.
“You did not come to the Valley to pledge, you did not come for a fashion show or come to floss when you are living off student aid,” said Bryant. You understand that you are here because you understand that there is a generation depending on you,” he added.
Dr. Constance Bland, vice president of academic affairs shared with the group, “to do all they can to become future graduates of Mississippi Valley State University.”
“I charge you to listen to the still small voice that says, ‘yes you can’. Embrace the challenge of the pursuit of a college degree. It will be a decision you will never regret. A diploma from Mississippi Valley State University; don’t leave us without it,” Bland added.
The students were given the opportunity to cross the stage and shake hands with Acting President Jerryl Briggs and other university department chairs.
The night culminated in Dean Renardo Hall leading the new students in the new student pledge.