August 24, 2011 -If the first freshman assembly at Fort Valley State University is endemic of what’s to come each Thursday, then the Class of 2015 can expect insightful lectures from speakers that challenge them to action and leadership. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated’s 33rd General President Herman Mason, Jr. hit severalflashpoints during a half hour address delivered with a preacher’s cadence and peppered with references that chronicled the audience’s journey to college, from toddler to teenager. “Your parents prayed over you and they watched your soft curly, hair evolve into soft, curly naps,” he said as the Pettigrew Center’s capacity crowd burst into laughter.
Mason offered high praise to parents for preparing students for adulthood, then echoed common themes of self-respect, responsibility and discipline. “Being a student at college takes discipline. It means you’ve got to think on your own. You can’t always run with the crowd,” he said.
After listing several major news events of the last two years, such as wars in the Middle East, the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and the election of “a young, skinny politician of mixed ancestry from Illinois, who had done the unthinkable when he won the Iowa caucus,” the Alpha fraternity officer announced to his young audience, “Life changing events can and will happen to each one of you too!
There was a special message to male students: “We’re watching you, young men.”
Watch Freshman Assembly Part One: here
Watch Freshman Assembly Student Response here
“Listen,” the speaker said to freshmen females; then offered what he coined “a profound observation.”
Watch Freshman Assembly Part Two here
Mason’s lecture concluded with the presentation of commemorative gifts to President Larry E. Rivers and First Lady Betty Jean Rivers that only a select group of dignitaries will own: a gold pendant and cuff links bearing the image of slain Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Watch Freshman Assembly: Special Presentation: here
This weekend, on Sunday, Aug. 28, the speaker will join an estimated half million spectators in Washington, D.C., as a monument of King is dedicated.
Watch Freshman Assembly: MLK monument : here