Convocation at Dudy Noble: New MSU students encouraged to seize opportunities

Stanley Blackmon rings a cowbell as Mark Keenum claps on the stage at convocation
MSU alumnus Stanley Blackmon rings a cowbell presented by MSU President Mark E. Keenum during the university’s fall 2023 convocation ceremony. (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University welcomed its largest-ever freshman class, as well as new transfer students, to campus with fall convocation on Tuesday [Aug. 22], marking the beginning of their academic journey at MSU.

During the ceremony, MSU alumnus and partner with Bradley law firm Stanley Blackmon addressed the new students and encouraged them to take advantages of the many opportunities that come with enrolling at MSU.

“All of the opportunities that you are looking for, and some opportunities you don’t even know about, are available to you right here at Mississippi State,” Blackmon said. “You just have to be willing to take advantage of them. If you do your part, Mississippi State will prepare you for the world ahead.” 

Blackmon, a Jackson native and Murrah High School graduate, attended MSU on a presidential scholarship and was involved with several campus organizations, including the Shackouls Honors College, Student Association, Orientation Leaders and Alumni Delegates. He graduated with a degree in biological sciences in 2012 and went on to graduate from the University of Alabama School of Law. He was listed as a “rising star” by Mid-South Super Lawyers Magazine in 2022 and has been recognized by Best Lawyers as “one to watch” since 2021.

During his speech, Blackmon relayed five tips to students that will help them make the most of their MSU experience: 1. Develop relationships with professors. 2. Get involved on campus. 3. Embrace the university community and traditions. 4. Take chances, get messy and make mistakes. 5. Make new and diverse friendships.

A student holds the commemorative convocation coin, which includes the MSU seal.
New MSU students were presented with a commemorative coin during fall convocation on Tuesday [Aug. 22]. They were asked to keep the coin and bring it with them to their graduation ceremony. (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

MSU President Mark E. Keenum also addressed the newest Bulldogs, explaining the significance of the commemorative coin they received during the event. The coin is meant as a keepsake for students to hold onto and bring with them when they walk across the stage at graduation. It also represents a commitment to work toward graduation and, ultimately, a fulfilling career.

“We want you to succeed. We want you to graduate from this great university and earn your degree that will impact you for the rest of your life,” Keenum said. “We are here for you. We’re making that commitment to each and every one of you this evening. But this evening is also the opportunity for each and every one of you to make a commitment to yourself that you are going to do what it takes to stay committed to earning your degree and gaining the knowledge you will need for a successful life.”

Convocation is among many events that mark a new academic year at MSU. MSU students soon will celebrate the beginning of football season with Cowbell Yell on Aug. 31 at Scott Field at Davis Wade Stadium.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023 - 11:12 am