Albany State to honor founder at today's home opener vs. Wingate

ASU founder Dr. Joseph Winthrop Holley

ASU founder Dr. Joseph Winthrop Holley

ALBANY -- Albany State University will honor Dr. Joseph Winthrop Holley, founder of the 108-year-old institution, during the ASU-Wingate football game today. The Third Annual J.W. Holley Memorial Game will kick off at 7 p.m. at the Albany State University Coliseum.

Albany State named its first home game each season as a tribute to the founder and first president of the historically black school in Albany, said Dr. Richard H. Williams, interim director of athletics. Military personnel, policemen and firefighters will also be honored in memory of the victims and survivors of the Sept. 11 terroristic attacks on the United States in 2001 and the current War on Terror in Afghanistan.

"Dr. Holley's dream was to build an institution of higher learning where African-American students could receive quality training in education. Because of his legacy, Albany State can continue its legacy of helping students realize their full potential, Williams said. "We will also honor the thousands of men and women who lost their lives during the series of events 10 years ago on Sept. 11, the police officers and firefighters who restore peace in those chaotic times, and the countless numbers of military personnel who have died and who are serving in defense of our great country, the United States of America."

Holley, who was born in South Carolina, received his education in Massachusetts and returned to the South after reading the writings of Dr. W.E.B. DuBois on blacks in Georgia. Shocked by DuBois' description of the poor living conditions experienced by blacks in the South, Holley decided to move to Albany and start a school. He founded the school as the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institute in 1903. Holley retired in 1943 after serving as president for 40 years.

"This game is just a small gesture to honor so many people who have done so much for us as a people, an institution and a nation," Williams said.

In addition to the tributes, ASU will also have the pregame Running of the Rams, a tradition the Athletics department established last season as a presentation of the ASU freshman class.

Tickets for the game are $20 for adults and $7 for kindergarten-through-12th-grade students, and can be purchased on campus at the ASU business office cashier's window in the ACAD Building, and at Odyssey Records, Connie's Corner, Petro Store on Radium Springs Road and June Bug's Grocery.

FIRST-EVER "HOLLEY DAY:" The ASU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will host its inaugural Dr. Joseph Holley Day today at 8 a.m. SAAC will sponsor three events, beginning with the first-ever Dr. Joseph Holley Memorial 3K Run. ASU faculty, staff and students are invited to run two laps in honor of ASU's first president. Participants can choose to run or walk the distance.

To coincide with the festivities, SAAC will also show their school spirit by offering free face and nail-painting for fans attending the game. SAAC will also continue is proud tradition of collecting donations for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The student-athletes will ask all fans to donate $1 to the cause when they enter the game.