Brock urges a commitment to excellence



Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Carl Pettis, Ph.D., takes a moment to pose with Anthony Brock after University College officials awarded Brock a certificate of appreciation for serving as the featured speaker.

Kendal Manns, Editor-in-Chief

Alabama State University held its “Meet the Deans” freshmen convocation, presented by the University College Oct. 11 in the Ralph Abernathy Hall Auditorium with Anthony Brock as its featured speaker.
Brock, an alumnus, is also the founder of Valiant Cross Academy, an all-male private school located in Montgomery, Alabama. He emphasized the importance of the opportunities the freshmen have at the university, telling them not to “squander” it. During his speech, he explained the student potential.
“You’re going to be the class to put Alabama State University back on track,” he said. “I want you guys to have that burning fire for the university. You’ve got to get a hunger … We have to be competitive not just on Saturdays.”
He wanted the students to understand the level of commitment that comes with being successful. He used the story of his father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Brock served as his father’s caregiver three times a day until he died in July 2022.
His commitment to excellence also showed in the founding and development of Valiant Cross. The school started with 30 people in 2015 and now has 210, graduating their first class last year. Six of those graduates also attend the university.
“Some people that are sitting around here right now are not committed to being here,” he said. “You’re going to have to separate yourself. You’ve already separated yourself from a lot of people in high school, but now it’s another level of separation if you want to get out of it what God has for you.”
Brock also introduced another alumnus, Oscar Berry, to speak as well. After graduating from the university in 2008, Berry campaigned for President Obama, served in offices in the Alabama congressional district and founded a nonprofit organization in 2015. He also serves as the Director of Strength and Condition and Activity at Valiant Cross Academy.
Berry encouraged students to “mind your own business.” He referred to two scriptures in 1 Thessalonians chapter three in the Bible for his message. He took two lessons from the scriptures. The first was that you should not be nosy, but the second was to “mind your business so you don’t have to ask anybody to do what you need to do for you.”
He highlighted the importance of people’s relationship with each other and students with the university. “Now that students have found themselves at the university and it is up to them to not only gain from this place (the university) but also give to this place.” Minding their business will help the students to give to others and to receive from others.
Evelyn Hodge, Ph.D., the dean of the university college, presented Brock and Berry with gifts for their contributions to the convocation. Brock was awarded a plaque that read “for the appreciation and outstanding service as a keynote speaker from the University College.” Berry was given “a few things to remind him of the university every day.”
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carlos Pettis, Ph.D., introduced the deans and Brock to the students. There were several convocation committee members in attendance including, Margie Thomas, chair, Gail Sellers and Sondra Obas. Parichart Thronton, Ph.D., the interim chair for the Department of Advancement Studies, was also in attendance.
Brock left the students with an encouraging word. “I promise you there is no one as brilliant as the person sitting in your seat,” he said. “You just got to believe in yourself…. God broke the mold when he made you. I want you to leave here with confidence in yourself, love for each other and love for Bama State.”