109th Founders Day celebration at Albany State

Albany Bible and Manual Training Institution began in 1903 and later changed their name to Albany State University. / From file

Albany State University celebrates it's 109th Founder's Day Friday.

Dr. Joseph Winthrop Holley is the founder of ASU. He was a pastor and college graduate that looked for a way to help residents of Southwest Georgia attain a college education.

"He wanted to build a school for young black men and women to further their education and to further their progress and he was determined to do it," said Holley's daughter, Josephine Holley-Jefferson.

Local leaders from all over Albany area stopped by to greet the ASU family for this milestone to discuss Dr. Holley's vision. First, he built the school to focus on the trades, industry and agriculture that were founded on Christian principles in 1903. That's when the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institution began. The institution later became known as Albany State University.

Reverend Lorenzo Heard, pastor of the Greater Second Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Albany was the keynote speaker. He's a Lee County native and graduate of Albany State with a bachelor's degree in business management in 2003.

"Dr. Holley did a lot with a little; challenging people to do what he did back then to continue to further the university by taking a little and doing a lot with it and making sure that we don't do a lot and do little with it," said Heard.

Holley's unforgettable dream is something that Wendy Wilson, the Co-chair of the Founders Day Committee, is spreading all over the country.

"He's impacted a multitude of individuals that are again having a global impact and that just came from one dream. So with a dream, came a vision and just a little bit of hard work and lots and lots of faith." said Wilson.

Friday morning's convocation was followed by a graveside service at the founder's grave, followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the gravesite where Holley is buried.