Daughter of ASU founder says father's 'dream has come true'

Former Albany Movement President Dr. William Anderson gave the keynote speech at ASU's Founder's Day Celebration

Josephine Holley-Jefferson â" daughter of Albany State University's founder â" says her father's dream has come true.

"He would just be amazed because this was his baby; he just loved this place," says Holley-Jefferson. "He would be so proud that his early efforts have borne fruit."

The University is celebrating 108 years since it was established by Dr. Joseph Holley. In those 108 years, Albany State has seen its share of history and been a part of it.

"It was the students from Albany State that were the spark for the Albany Movement that was the first mass spontaneous movement of the Civil Rights era," says Keynote Speaker and Former Albany Movement President Dr. William Anderson.

Anderson gave the keynote speech at the Founder's Day Convocation, reflecting on how inspirational the students were in 1961 during the Albany Civil Rights Movement.

"What would possess a student -- 17, 18, 19 years old â" to throw caution to the wind, to jeopardize their education, to jeopardize their future to follow me to go to jail in a Civil Rights Movement?" says Anderson.

One of those students, Muarlean Edwards, a 1964 Albany State graduate and Dougherty County Commission Vice-Chairman, was there to introduce Anderson.

"Because of you, I had my first arrest," she said to Anderson.

In conclusion to his speech, Anderson tackled doubters of the Albany Movement: "Was the Albany Movement a success? Is Albany State University a successful institution?"

After hearing from Anderson, everyone was invited to pay homage at a Graveside Ceremony at the site where Dr. Holley, the founder, is buried right on ASU's campus.

While they graduated years ago, Albany State's alumni returned to pay their respects.

"I look at Albany State University as an outgrowth of many of the things that have happened here in Albany since the founding of the school in 1903," says Anderson. "There's been a progression toward superior education, toward commitment and dedication to the community. It never ceases to amaze me how many graduates of this college come back to this college as faculty members, as staff members to live in the city of Albany."

108 years later, Holley-Jefferson says her father would be happy to see the successes of the college.

"He would be overwhelmed and he would say, 'That's the ticket!' That was one of his favorite expressions," she says.