Johnson keynotes MVSU's 68th Founder's Convocation

April 20, 2018

ITTA BENA, Miss.— The year was 1976 when Gloria Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi Valley State University.

42 years later, Johnson returned to her alma mater Thursday, April 19, to serve as the keynote speaker for the institution’s 68th Annual Founder’s Convocation.

Hosted in the Walter Roberts Auditorium of the H.G. Carpenter Building, the event embraced the week’s theme, “Keeping Valley in Motion: Connecting our Founding to our Future.”

A native of Delta City, Miss., Johnson said she enrolled in MVSU with her best friend on a full academic scholarship, becoming the first in her family to receive a college degree.

“The Valley instilled in me confidence, character, a lifelong quest to learn and the wherewithal to support myself after graduation,” Johnson said.

Alluding to the theme, Johnson dissected the keywords of the phrase, highlighting the significance “motion” and detailing why “connecting” and preparing for the “future” are essential.

She then encouraged the audience to keep moving forward.

“Success is never final. No matter how good you are, you can continue to improve,” she said.

Education is the key to continued success, Johnson said.

“One way as a society that we can stay prepared for our future is to continue educating our citizens. MVSU is widely regarded for its inclusive excellence. HBCUs serve a great purpose and forge a pathway to success for many students,” she said.

Johnson is retired and was employed by Entergy Mississippi from 1987 until May 2016. She began her career with Baxter Travenol Laboratories in Cleveland, Miss., and later joined Uncle Ben’s Foods of Greenville where she served as Cost Services Coordinator for nine years.

In her final remarks, Johnson acknowledged the role MVSU had in preparing her to compete in a global society.

“Thank you for helping to write the success story of one Delta girl who had a dream,” she said.

A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Johnson was presented with a plaque commemorating the occasion by President Dr. Jerryl Briggs and a gift bag presented bu Erin Peery, president of MVSU’s Epsilon Pi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Also during the ceremony, the Greenwood-Itta Bena Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. presented the University with a $10,000 check to support ten $1,000 scholarships to MVSU students.

The presentation was made in honor of Delta Sigma Theta member First Lady Augusta C. White, wife of MVSU’s founding president, Dr. Herbert White.

MVSU President Dr. Jerryl Briggs also gave special recognition to family and friends of MVSU employees and who have passed away. 

Among those honored were Dr. W.A. Butts, Dr. Joseph Wahome, Irma Burks Daily and Charles Ruth.