Mary E. Crump, Jerryl Briggs

Dr. Jerryl Briggs, Mississippi Valley State University president, right, presents a plaque to alumna Dr. Mary E. Crump, who spoke Thursday at Valley’s annual Founder’s Convocation.

One Mississippi Valley State University alumna says the key to a successful future lies at MVSU.

“Moving toward a future begins with a foundation. And, of course, naturally that foundation begins right here at Valley,” said Dr. Mary E. Crump. “The preparation of young minds, getting the basis of education and the process begins at freshman orientation.”

Crump was keynote speaker for Thursday’s 69th Annual Founder’s Day Convocation, a part of the university’s Founder’s Week, which includes a series of gatherings celebrating Dr. James Herbert White, the founding father of MVSU, and his wife, Augusta C. White.

Crump earned an associate’s degree in nursing from MVSU, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Southern Mississippi and master’s and doctoral degrees in public health from Jackson State University. She retired in 2013 as a clinic manager at the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Jackson Heart Study.

Through that position, Crump said, she participated in managing “the largest single-site observational epidemiological study of African-Americans” to determine the causes of cardiovascular diseases within that population.

Crump complimented MVSU’s low student-to-faculty ratio. She said it allows students to work more closely with professors who can help the students realize their visions. “Where there’s a vision, we know there’s growth,” she said.

Though receiving an education at MVSU is important in building a foundation, there are still several stumbling blocks, Crump said.

“We are living through what can often be described as a period of profound digital disruption,” which has changed “every imaginable human endeavor,” she said.

Kai Fu Lee, a venture capitalist  and artificial intelligence expert, said in an interview for CBS’ “60 Minutes” that 40% of jobs worldwide will be automated within 15 years. Some of those positions include truck drivers, restaurant servers  and cashiers, Lee said.

As people are now living longer, there will be more elderly people in need of care, she said. The number of  those over the age of 100 will increase.

She said MVSU students could develop ways to care for the elderly better.

“The foundation that was received here will be with you the remainder of your life,” she said.

Founder's Convocation

Mississippi Valley State University faculty, dressed in college gowns, participate in the university’s 69th Annual Founder’s Convocation, a part of Founder’s Week, on Thursday.

Following Crump’s speech, Annie Lewis, vice president of the Greenwood-Itta Bena Alumnae Chapter for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, presented Dr. Jerryl Briggs, MVSU’s president, a $5,000 check to be used as scholarship money for students.

The university also gave honorary plaques to the families of four people who served MVSU throughout their lives:

• Dr. Constance G. Bland, who worked for MVSU beginning in 1991 as a professor and then most recently served as vice president of academic affairs until her passing last year.

• Mary Jean Johnson, an alumna who started as a secretary for the Guidance and Counseling department of MVSU and worked as a coach for the cheer squad.

• Dr. Clemon Baker, who helped establish the university’s graduate program in education and served as the associate dean of student affairs from 1970 to 1974.

• Attorney Carver A. Randle, a Valley graduate who supported his alma mater for more than 50 years through donations, volunteerism and recruiting students to the school.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or

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