Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

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Presidents, SGA presidents banter at 82nd Magic City Classic Kickoff Luncheon

Justin B. Freeman
Dennis Kimbro, professor at Clark Atlanta University served as the keynote speaker during the Magic City Classic Kick-off Luncheon.

The 82nd Magic City Classic was formally kicked off with the annual Kickoff Luncheon in the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center East Ballroom on Thursday, Oct. 26, sponsored by Encompass Health. The event showcased all the sponsors and partners that invest into both universities in honor of this annual classic.

Coca Cola United, the presenting sponsor, has served this annual event for 14 years and McDonald’s, the title sponsor, has served for eight years in a row. Throughout the event, other corporate sponsors were appreciated and spoke on the behalf of companies such as Amazon, Alabama Power, Regions and Encompass health.

Dennis Kimbro, a professor at Clark-Atlanta University served as the keynote speaker of the event.  He dedicated his speech to the student bodies of both universities.

He encouraged the student body to value their time and to make sure they’re learning outside of the classroom.

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“Let people waste your money, but don’t let anybody waste your time … Life is about lifelong learning. You don’t go to school for one period in your life, you’re in school everyday of your life. Although he didn’t attend an HBCU,” Kimbro said, “I’ve been historically black my entire life,” which brought the audience to an acclamation.

Kimbro ended his speech with, “The opposite of success is not failure, the opposite of success is conformity. You will never succeed conforming to the wishes, the norms and the morals of others.”

The kickoff luncheon made things more interesting leading up to the anticipated rivalry game between Alabama State University Hornets vs. Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University Bulldogs.  Leadership from both sides had the opportunity to speak on behalf of their institutions, and it consisted of some friendly banter.

Alabama State University President Quinton T. Ross Jr., Ed.D.,  shared some encouraging witticisms. He emphasized that despite the rivalry, both universities have work to do.

“Our graduation rates are still the same. It does not matter how many you have in attendance, our retention rate is still the same.” He then began to speak on how being first comes with great responsibility. “Understand what being first is. When you are first, you pave the way for everybody else. We (ASU) paved the way for Alabama A&M.” Ross ended his rebuttal with a strong statement saying, “No matter what you say, no matter what they say, they will never and could never be the place where true history is made.”

Alabama State University Student Government Association President Landon Hale, highlighted major differences between the two universities in his speech. Such as Alabama State University being the only HBCU in Alabama that offers a bachelor degree in Fine Arts, the first location of the “SHE CARE Wellness Pods” which was founded by Taraji P. Henson and Tracie Jade Jenkins, and being on the BET series College Hill. He ended his speech asking, “Can someone tell me why all those bulldogs are running from the hill down to the nest?” and encouraged Alabama A&M’s SGA President, Mike Davis Jr., to “come on home” since he is originally from Montgomery.

Davis had a response to Hale’s speech, stating that, “Landon’s speech was cool but he wasn’t talking about nothing (anything) for real. He tried to diss (us), but didn’t have no (any) facts. I desecrated his speech!” He also feels like his speech “took a dub” compared to Hale’s. “My speech was my favorite part of today. I worked long and hard, and was really nervous about how it was going to go, but I feel like I took the dub in that,” Davis said.

Overall, attendees were very pleased with the event, and looked forward to what is to come for the remainder of the week.

“Today was a tremendous event for the students,” Cyrus Russ, deputy director of Alabama State University athletics said.  “They received great words of wisdom and got a great opportunity to engage with leaders of this magnitude, which leads to a positive impact on their future. In Birmingham, it’s a great event, a great opportunity for all of us to come together. That’s why I love Magic City Classic.”

“I look forward to not just the game, ‘cause we’re going to take the dub in that, but I also look forward to all the fellowship and excitement that goes on around the game. All the students, alumni and having a good time. I also look forward to the fifth quarter too,” Davis said.

Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Malinda Swoope is very torn this year, being that she is worked at Alabama A & M University but now works at Alabama State University.

“I’m looking forward to the game, it’s always about the showdown! May the best man win and that’s going to be Alabama State University! It’s really challenging when you’re coming from both sides,” Swoop said. “Fifteen years at the hill then being here (ASU) since January, but my favorite part is that both institutions are coming together for a common good.

Magic City Classic is not the same every year. This year, the 82nd annual Magic City Classic will be the highest payout for both institutions in history.

“One thing is the longevity of the Magic City Classic,” Ross said.   “It’s an assembly that we can continue to move forward based on the path that was laid so many years ago. This is also going to be the highest payout for both institutions in the history of the Magic City Classic. Each university received record payouts bigger than any classic in the country or any self college bowl games. We should be proud of the progress we’ve made, particularly starting with the 82nd Magic City Classic.”

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