BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Current and former students gathered at the F.G. Clark Activity Center at Southern University Wednesday morning to celebrate the 138th Founders' Day.
The ceremony started with a prayer and was followed by speeches from some of school's distinguished alumni. The school choir and wind ensemble also performed before the dozens in attendance.
Miss Southern University Felise Thompson-Doyle spoke during the ceremony. She says Southern played a big role in her decision to become a counselor and mentor for kids. "It wasn't until I became Miss Southern University, until so many people started to look up to me being a role model and me being able to mentor them, really encouraged me to do mental health counseling," Thompson-Doyle said. "So with that, I plan on opening my own youth academy for young girls."
Southern is the largest Historically Black College in Louisiana. Officials say just 12 students attended the school on its first day. Today, their enrollment is roughly 12,000.
"Southern University, in my opinion, has provided a nationwide, middle-class African American society, and we have evidence," said Ann Smith, chairwoman for the Board of Supervisors. "The data shows that it actually has done that for our nation, our United States here."
After the ceremony at F.G. Clark, there was a public symposium at the law school. That school will celebrate its 71st anniversary in September.