Founder’s Day Gone Virtual!

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Averett Faculty on stage at Founder’s Day 2021

Margaret Gregory, Staff Writer

Averett faculty, administration and speakers on stage at Founder’s Day 2021 Thursday, March 11.

Like many Averett events, this year’s Founder’s Day has also become virtual. However, the spirit of the day did not lose its focus or meaning as there was still just as much life in the room despite the vacant seats.

Held on March 11, 2021, the platform party paraded proudly down the aisles of Pritchett Auditorium dressed in colorful robes of academia. President Franks greeted the empty seats with a speech of hope and remembrance. She drew similarities between the CoVid-19 Pandemic and the Flu Pandemic of 1819 and how Averett has been able to combat both.

“One major reason we’ve been so successful during this past year was the caring spirit of our AU students, faculty and staff for one another,” Franks said. “For the community that surrounds us and for the resolute determination that we have to support each other through whatever comes our way.”

Afterwards, The Averett Singers were invited to perform and broadcast the song “Change” written and composer by Charlie Puth and arranged by Mark Brymer. Dr. Anne Lewis, who also attended the ceremony, directed and recorded the choir’s performance beforehand. Lewis chose this song because it perfectly captured the essence and emotions of the past year. It also went well with AU’s mission for students to serve and lead as catalysts for positive change.

“The recurring phrases are ‘I know that the world can change the day we know we’re all the same’ and ‘why can’t we just get along?’. Those just hit me in the heart,” Lewis explained, “It’s really a reminder that we need each other that’s been so difficult this past year. I thought it would be a good reminder to the students!”

The guest speakers of the day came up, one by one, to reminisce on memories past at then Averett College. The alumni also admiring their personal improvement as well as the university’s growth from last they had been on campus.

Dr. James Allred ‘97, a bio-chem major turned cardiac electrophysiologist, expressed how much Averett feels like a second home.

Next, Dr. Angela Hairston ’85, superintendent of Danville Public Schools, flashed back to when she was a first generation student working diligently in her classes and full-time job. She then commented that Averett taught and her to set an example for her younger siblings and cousins.

“The reason I was able to finish was because someone cared, and I will never forget that,” Hairston said. “You (the faculty and University) have changed the lives of so many in my family.”

Lastly, Adrian Nester ’01, ’03, reminisced on her days as an English major now turned English teacher.

“Averett made an impact on my life beyond tangible — through the things I’ve learned, the friends I’ve made, and the fun we had,” Nester said.

Nester also recognized her early years of teaching, and how she realized that calm improvisation in the classroom was just as necessary as the academia learned and taught.

The future graduates were also addressed as Junior Class President Zamyiah Mangum, ’22, was welcomed to the stage. She applauded the university and her fellow classmates for staying resilient during the pandemic and encouraged then to move forward in the years to come. She thanked the faculty for her success and progress at Averett.

“But look at you (fellow students)!” encouraged Mangum, “A year later; back to in-person classes, having the opportunity to play sports and realizing that there is light at the end of this tunnel.”

If you missed out on viewing Averett University’s Founder’s Day 2021, you can watch the inspiring recorded video on Averett’s official YouTube page: Averettcougars.