Alcorn State University (shortened to Alcorn State, ASU or Alcorn) is a public, historically black, comprehensive, land-grant institution located northwest of Lorman, Mississippi in rural Claiborne County. It was founded in 1871 by the Reconstruction-era legislature to provide higher education for freedmen. It is the first black land grant college established in the United States. Its main campus is approximately 80 miles southwest of Jackson, Mississippi.
One of Alcorn’s most notable alumni, Medgar Evers, a civil rights activist, graduated in 1952. Students at the college were part of the mid-twentieth century civil rights movement, working to register residents for voting and struggling to end racial inequality. Other alumni have been activists, politicians and professionals in Mississippi and other states. The university is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Alcorn State University was founded at the former Oakland College, a school for whites established by the Presbyterian Church. Oakland College closed its doors at the beginning of the American Civil War because of the outbreak of war; most students enlisted in the military. When the college failed to reopen at the end of the war, the property was sold to the state of Mississippi. It renamed the facility as Alcorn University in 1871 in honor of James L. Alcorn, then the state’s governor, and established it as a land grant institution and historically black college. 
This was the first black land grant college in the country. Congress required that states with segregated educational institutions (as was maintained throughout the former Confederacy) designate black land grant colleges in order to receive land grant monies for white colleges, as Congress had authorized the program to benefit students of all races. Alcorn University started with what are recognized as three historic buildings.
United States Senator Hiram R. Revels resigned his seat when he accepted the position as Alcorn’s first president. The state legislature provided $50,000 in cash for ten successive years for the establishment and overall operations of the college. The state also granted Alcorn three-fifths of the proceeds earned from the sale of 30,000 acres (12,000 ha) of land scrip for agricultural or land grant colleges under federal legislation. The land was sold for $188,928 with Alcorn receiving a share of $113,400. This money was to be used solely to support the agricultural and mechanical components of the college, which Congress wanted to develop nationally. From its beginning, Alcorn State University was a land-grant college.
In 1878, the name Alcorn University was changed to Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College. The university’s original 225 acres (0.91 km2) of land have been expanded to develop a 1,700 acres (6.9 km2) campus. The goals for the college set by the Mississippi legislature following the Reconstruction era emphasized training for blacks rather than academic education. The school, like other black schools during these years, was less a college than a vocational school intended to prepare students for the agricultural economy of the state and of most of their hometowns.
At first the school was exclusively for black males, but women were admitted in 1895. Today, women outnumber men at the university 1800 to 1200. Alcorn began with eight faculty members in 1871. Today the faculty and staff number more than 500. The student body has grown from 179 mostly local male students to more than 4,000 students from all over the world.
In 1974, Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College was renamed Alcorn State University, representing the development of its programs. Governor William L. Waller signed House Bill 298 granting university status to Alcorn and the other state-supported colleges. Alcorn had already become a more diversified university, with graduate programs. It provides an undergraduate education that enables students to continue their work in graduate and professional schools, engage in teaching, and enter other professions. It also provides graduate education to equip students for further training in specialized fields.
While early graduates of Alcorn had limited job opportunities, some recent alumni have become physicians, lawyers, pharmacists, dentists, educators, administrators, managers, and entrepreneurs.
Alcorn State is accredited, with seven schools and degree programs in more than fifty areas, including a nursing and a Master of Business Administration program. The facilities number approximately 80 modern structures with an approximate value of $71 million.
|Hiram Rhodes Revels||1871–1882||No|
|John Houston Burrus||1882–1893||No|
|Wilson H. Reynolds||1893–1894||No|
|Thomas J. Calloway||1894–1896||No|
|Edward H. Triplett||1896–1899||No|
|William H. Lanier||1899–1905||No|
|Levi John Rowan||1905–1911||No|
|John Adams Martin||1911–1915||No|
|Levi John Rowan||1915–1934||No|
|Isiah S. Sanders, Acting President||1934–1934||No|
|William Harrison Bell||1934–1944||No|
|Preston Sewell Bowles||1944–1945||No|
|William Harrison Pipes||1945–1949||No|
|Jesse R. Otis||1949–1957||No|
|John Dewey Boyd||1957–1969||No|
|Rudolph E. Waters Sr.||1994–1995||Yes|
|Clinton Bristow Jr.||1995–2006||No|
|Malvin A. Williams Sr.||2006–2008||Yes|
|George E. Ross||2008–2010||No|
|Norris Allen Edney||2010–2011||Yes|
|M. Christopher Brown II||2011–2013||No|
|Alfred Rankins, Jr.||2014–2017||No|
Alcorn State is the second largest HBCU and fifth largest university in Mississippi with an enrollment of approximately 3,700 undergraduate students and 600 graduate students. The university has seven schools, offering more than 50 different fields of study.
- School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
- School of Arts and Sciences
- School of Business
- School of Education and Psychology
- School of Nursing
Alcorn’s honors program is an option for highly qualified undergraduate students who wish to enhance their academic experience and leadership skills.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) program
Alcorn State University offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program through its Natchez campus. Classes are conducted in the evening. Students may join the live lecture classes via a live internet feed. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), a global accrediting body for business degree programs. The MBA program has been popular with international and out-of-state students.
Besides coordinating study-abroad opportunities, Global Programs brings worldwide perspectives to campus through exchange programs and special events.
Alcorn offers pre-professional programs to better prepare students for a transition to specialized studies in the fields of law, engineering, nursing, physical therapy, medicine, pharmacy and dentistry.
Alcorn State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Specialist in Education degrees.
Alcorn’s teacher education program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics is accredited by the American Dietetics Association. The Associate of Science in Nursing degree, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, and the Master of Science in Nursing degree programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. Alcorn State University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Association of Industrial Technology, and the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
The main campus is located near Lorman, Mississippi. The Nursing School and the Business School’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program are located in Natchez, Mississippi. The university also has a class center in Vicksburg.
Male residence halls include Medgar Wiley Evers Heritage Village Complex and Hiram Revels Hall. Female residence halls include Medgar Wiley Evers Heritage Village Complex buildings A and B, John Burrus Hall, and the Female Honors Residence Hall.
Recent Campus Additions include:
- 5 mi (8.0 km) Bike/Walking Trail
- Foster Baseball Field at McGowan Stadium
- Medgar Wiley Evers Heritage Village (student housing)
- Clinton Bristow Dining Hall
- Ecology and Natural Resources Building
- BioTechnology Building
- Fine Arts Building Renovations/ Band Hall Addition
- Lanier Hall renovated into the Student Housing Office
- Old President House renovated into the Alumni House
Current and planned construction projects include:
- School of Business (Dumas Hall) renovations
- Rowan Hall renovations into the Student Health Center
- Bowles Hall renovations into the Executive Administration Building
- Student Housing Phase II/ Faculty Housing
- Technology Classroom Building
Alcorn State has campuses in Natchez and Vicksburg.
Jay Searcy of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in 1994 that Alcorn had “a gritty football team that has sent over 60 players to the National Football League“. His article was chiefly about NFL quarterback and former Alcorn State player Steve McNair.
Sounds of Dyn-O-mite
Alcorn State University’s marching band was founded in the 1960s; the band is known as the “Sounds of Dyn-O-mite” (SOD). Led by five drum majors, SOD has more than 190+ members.
The “Golden Girls” (GGs) is the established dance squad that has been featured with SOD since its inception.
|Medgar Evers||1948||First NAACP field secretary and well-known civil rights activist|||
|Albert Butler||1970||Mississippi State Senator|||
|Horace R. Cayton, Sr.||c.1880s||Journalist and politician, who was one of first blacks to serve on county and state delegations in Seattle, Washington|||
|Chandra Minor||2008||First African-American female orthodontist in Mississippi|||
|Katie G. Dorsett||Member of the North Carolina Senate from the 28th district|
|Alex Haley||Author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family|
|Kimberly Morgan||Miss Mississippi 2007|
|Michael Clarke Duncan||attended||Actor|
|Ed Smith||Former alderman of the 28th ward in Chicago, Illinois from 1983 to 2010.|
|Joseph Edison Walker||1903||President of Universal Life Insurance Company in Memphis, Tennessee|
|Adena Williams Loston||1973||President of St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas|
|Jack Spinks||1952||Former professional football player for the New York Giants|
|Willie Alexander||1971||Former professional football player for the Houston Oilers|
|Jimmie Giles||1977||Former professional football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Leslie Frazier||1980||Defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, former defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, former special assistant coach with the Indianapolis Colts|
|Roynell Young||1980||Former professional football player for the Philadelphia Eagles|
|Issiac Holt||1985||Former professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys|
|Milton Mack||Former professional football player for the Detroit Lions|
|Fred McNair||Former Professional Canadian and Arena football player, brother of Steve McNair, and Head Coach of Alcorn State Football|
|Cedric Tillman||1992||Former professional football player for the Denver Broncos|
|Dwayne White||Former professional football player for the St. Louis Rams|
|Garry Lewis||Former professional football player for the Oakland Raiders|
|Torrance Small||1992||Former NFL player for the New Orleans Saints|
|John Thierry||1994||Former NFL player for the Chicago Bears|
|Steve McNair||1996||Former professional quarterback for the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens|
|Bryant Mix||1997||Former NFL player for the Houston Oilers|
|Donald Driver||1999||Former professional football player for the Green Bay Packers|
|Chad Slaughter||2000||Former Professional football player for the Oakland Raiders|
|Louis Green||2002||Former NFL player for the Denver Broncos|
|Charlie Spiller||2007||Former NFL player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Nate Hughes||2008||Former NFL player for the Detroit Lions|
|Larry Smith||1980||Former NBA player and assistant coach in the NBA and WNBA.|
|Lee Robinson||2009||Professional football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos|
|Emmanuel Arceneaux||2009||Current CFL and former NFL player|
|Frank Purnell||Former professional football player for the Green Bay Packers|
|Damien Wilson||Linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, transferred out of Alcorn after his freshman season|
|Iris Kyle||10-time overall Ms. Olympia professional bodybuilder|