Dr. Felecia M. Nave, a 1996 Alcorn State University alum, was inaugurated as her alma mater’s 20th president, and first female president in the university’s history, on Friday, April 16, 2021.
The investiture of Dr. Nave marks a pivotal point in Alcorn’s 150-year history. This event is both a celebration of Alcorn’s first female president and an opportunity to honor and salute trailblazers within the Alcorn community who have made impacts within their respective fields.
“I am Alcorn and I hope the students and the university community will see me as a daily reminder of what an Alcorn education can do,” said Dr. Nave.
Dr. Nave is a second-generation Alcornite. She is personally and professionally invested in Alcorn’s mission to develop well-rounded future leaders of high character who can be successful in the global marketplace. Her 18-plus years in higher education, woven with her commitment to Alcorn, allow her to strengthen current programs, establish new programs and initiatives while moving the university forward and elevating its profile.
“Her ability to be detailed and solution-oriented, along with the ability to see and define the big picture, will no doubt provide a transformative and inspiring change within the university that will have lasting effects long after her tenure as president of the university,” said former student and mentee, Jabreel Walker.
Events celebrating this momentous occasion were held on all three Alcorn State University campuses and live-streamed. Within the theme “Dare to Lead,” the Inauguration focused on the fulfillment of ambitious dreams. As a leader who truly represents her students, Dr. Nave’s story is one of tangible inspiration.
Inaugural Women of Courage Award Ceremony, Vicksburg, MS, on April 14th
Inaugural President’s Lecture Series, Natchez, MS, on April 15th
Investiture and Community Reception, Lorman, MS, on April 16th
Inauguration Scholarship Gala, Jackson, MS, on April 17th
An Alcorn alum, Dr. Nave returns with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, a master’s degree in chemical and environmental engineering, a doctorate in engineering, and nearly 18 years of proven success as an innovative educator and leader in complex collegiate environments. Dr. Nave is skilled in developing strategic approaches that lead to sustainable efforts and brings that expertise, combined with a personal connection and commitment to Alcorn, to her role as President. In 2003 Dr. Nave began her academic tenure at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) as a tenure-track associate professor. During her 15 years at PVAMU, she successfully matriculated through the academic levels to earn the rank of full professor of Chemical Engineering and advanced into administrative leadership roles, notably as Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2014–2017. In 2018 Dr. Nave was appointed Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at North Carolina Central University where she functioned as the chief academic officer.
Nave began her inaugural address with appreciation as she accepted the significant role as president. “I am honored, grateful, and humbled,” said Nave. “To stand here as my alma mater’s first female president is a welcomed responsibility. This institution has been predominantly female for years, and this is a significant moment in our collective life as Alcornites.”
In a salute to the University’s legacy, Nave credits the lessons she learned at Alcorn and its opportunities for her presidency.
“I am not here by accident or solely by my efforts. I dare to lead because the legacy of Alcorn’s past has enabled me to envision the promise of our future,” She said. “My presidency symbolizes Alcorn’s eagerness and energy for excellence and growth in the next 150 years. That’s why I am here. It takes courage to break a ceiling. It also requires a willing community who sees that shattered glass as a new floor and not a mess.”
Members from the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) expressed their confidence in Nave’s ability to lead Alcorn. Dr. Ford Dye, IHL president, assured the University community that Nave would make them proud as their leader.
“Alcorn State is a very special place,” said Dye. “It’s rich in history and tradition, and today marks an important milestone in the history of this institution. Dr. Nave understands both the University’s traditions and the need to innovate in today’s higher education climate. Her deep understanding will guide her decision-making as she leads this University. We have great confidence in President Nave and look forward to the achievements that this great University will enjoy during her tenure.”
Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., IHL commissioner, and Alcorn’s 19th president echoed Dye’s sentiments about Nave’s leadership skills and forward-thinking.
“This is a wonderful moment in the history of a wonderful institution,” said Rankins. “You have the hopes and dreams of many on your shoulders. The alumni hope that you preserve and protect your and their alma mater. The faculty and staff hope that you will be mindful of their interest and keep teaching and learning at the heart of the University.