By: Alabama State University

On July 18, Alabama State University celebrated its 156th birthday with a day of philanthropy.

So far, 89 alumni, faculty, staff, community friends, parents and ASU Board of Trustee members have given $8,737.25 to their favorite University departments, scholarship funds and student-support initiatives.  

“It is so important to give… The University’s supporters helped shape the University in the last 156 years with gifts, big and small.  Alabama State’s ‘Day of Giving’ set up a number of opportunities for supporters to make big differences across campus…Giving back to O’ Mother Dear will help to continue to move this institution forward,” said ASU President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr.

Col (ret.) Gregory Clark, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, said the celebration was held to recognize ASU’s culture of giving and remarkable growth throughout the years.

“We are here to celebrate 156 years, but giving is important to the sustainability of the University.  These gifts that our alums and supporters give will help those young men and women matriculate through Alabama State University. College is expensive, and any help that we can give as an ASU community will be very appreciated and it will help…to get these young men and women out into the workforce so they can do great things,” Clark said.

Clark pointed out that the monies will go toward student success. “Everything we do is about student success.  It’s contributing to making our students successful, allowing them to come into ASU and get a gift  of being educated by the best minds in the academic world and not having to worry so much about tuition costs and the heavy load that goes with tuition. The end game is student success,” Clark concluded.  

Ross and Clark agreed that student success translates into students being able to don their caps and gowns, walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, and then get a job.

“They will go on and make history, do great things because of the hands that touched their school, hands that touched their schedule, hands that touched them in the classroom.  Because of this, they will go on and be successful,” Ross stressed.

Rev. Cromwell Handy, director of Alumni Relations, said the Day of Giving is a great time for donors to express their love for O’ Mother Dear in a meaningful way.

“Our goal was to reach $186,700. When you write it out you see 1867, which coordinates with our birthday, with a couple of zeros behind it…We hope to exceed our goal.  We hope to engage our alumni… ASU alumni across the country have been positively impacted by their time at ASU and have a great tradition of giving back,” Handy said.

Asia Ali, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Communications, echoed Handy.

“Day of Giving means everything. It’s not just for the University itself, but for the students, our student programs and scholarships. Students who arrive here may not have all the financial means to graduate. So, our donations mean the world to them if we can help them fill in the gap to get them to the finish line,” Ali said.  

ASU’s Birthday Celebration featured a Call-A-Thon to kick off the day’s event, followed by a staff appreciation lunch, where the University distributed ASU shirts. WVAS jazzed up the event with the sounds of Sabadas for its Special Tuesday ASU Birthday Edition, which is part of  the radio station’s “90.7 FM Live at Lunch” event at noon on Thursdays.

“We can’t do enough to say thank you in appreciation of all those who continue this history of providing opportunities for … our most precious resource, our students,” Ross said.

ASU’s Rich History

Alabama State University’s humble beginnings started in Marion, Alabama, when nine formerly enslaved men pooled their resources and those of the community to raise $500 to establish the Lincoln Normal School, now Alabama State University. The vision of the “The Marion Nine” has grown tremendously during the institution’s 156-year history.

“I’m just so honored and humbled that 156 years ago our Founders thought of children that were yet unborn to establish what is now a global institution that welcomes all who seek her to provide an opportunity of a lifetime,” Ross said.

Ross noted that since its founding, the University has progressed into a global and national leader because of its achievements.

“ASU’s proud history of excellence in education includes nationally recognized research by our students and professors to high-demand allied health programs, competitive academic offerings, award-winning theatre programs, transformative CommUniversity initiatives, and a vast network of difference-making alumni,” Ross pointed out.

Clark said that he and his team had a chance to travel to Marion, Alabama to see where it all started.  “One hundred and fifty-six years later, look what we have – a robust student body, some world-class professors, and some of the best staff in the world that President Ross has assembled.”  

Alabama State University, Clark said, is a “rocket ready to take off. We are going to help put the fuel in and we are going to drive her to greater heights.”

How to Donate

Raising funds for the 156th celebration will be ongoing until the goal is reached.  Continue to donate through