Sting in the park: ASU alumni raise funds for scholarships

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023

LANETT — The local chapter of the Alabama State University Alumni Association held a “Sting in the Park” event on Saturday. It was a fundraiser for scholarships to help send local high school graduates to ASU.

A number of tents were spread out over one of the former Lanett Mill parking lots, and a number of food trucks were there serving barbecue, seafood and ice cream. Live entertainment took place on a stage, and King Jumpers has their gyro and bouncy house there to treat the kids to some fun.

“We just wanted to let the community know that Alabama State alumni are alive and well in the Greater Valley Area and Chambers County,” said local ASU Chapter President Kennedy Dunn.

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“I’m glad to see this kind of support here in your local community,” said Freddie Williams Jr., assistant vice president for Alabama State. “Our president, Quinton Ross Jr., believes in bringing the university to local communities like Lanett, Valley and LaFayette. We have all kinds of information here about Alabama State, and we can talk to today’s high school students on how to apply for admission.”

Williams said he has traveled the state on behalf of Alabama State and has been gratified at the turnouts he has seen as such events as Saturday’s Sting in the Park, which of course get its name from ASU’s mascot being the hornet.

One of the ASU alumni present for the Saturday event is a mountain of a man. He’s Jylan Ware, the former Valley High and Alabama State football star. He stands six-foot-nine and played pro football with the Raiders and Giants.

“Alabama State has supporters and scholarship programs all over this state,” Williams said. “I’m so glad we have such a good group here in Chambers County.”

Founded in 1867 as the Lincoln Normal School in Marion, Alabama, Alabama State became the nation’s first state-supported educational institution for blacks. This began ASU’s history as a teachers’ college. The school moved from Marion to Montgomery in 1887. The current school president, Dr. Quinton T. Ross Jr., has been in that role since 2017. He’s the 15th president in school history.