Sonya Acree, an Albany dentist and a graduate of Albany State University, speaks at Friday's convocation, which is part of the university's annual Founder's Day observance. Acree urged those attending to embrace change and make it a positive force in their lives.
ALBANY, Ga. — Albany State University kicked off its 110th Founder’s Day Celebration on Friday with convocation speaker Sonya Acree urging the ACAD auditorium crowd to “embrace change.”
Before Acree’s speech, ASU alumnus Tommie Postell and Josephine Holley-Jefferson, daughter of ASU founder Joseph Holley, shared their thoughts with the gathering.
“The ASU that is here today did not exist in my time,” Postell, an Albany city commissioner, said. “When I graduated 50 years ago, I never thought all this would be here. I really never expected to see what we have here today.”
In keeping with the theme “Embrace Change,” Jefferson asked the crowd to use the inevitable changes in their lives to their advantage.
“Change is what makes us grow and how we respond that change is what’s important,” she said. “Embracing change requires taking a certain amount of risk. But it is not to be feared. Embrace change.”
Acree, a 1990 graduate of ASU, earned her DMD from the Medical College of Georgia in 1994 and is the senior dentist at Albany Area Primary Health Care.
“I consider myself the poster child of embracing change,” Acree said. “I am a breast cancer survivor in full remission, so I know a little something about change. It happens all the time. It can move you forward or it can move you back.”
She then urged the crowd to be forward-thinkers.
“When change comes, ask yourself, ‘What if?’ Be proactive,” Acree said. “When one door closes, another always opens. Don’t waste your time staring too long at the closed door.
“Acknowledge change. It is inevitable and it will happen.”
She said learning to accept change as it comes is the key to success.
“When we accept change and learn from it, it becomes our teacher,” Acree said. “I have broadened my horizons and put a little ‘change’ in my life. Embrace the future. Embrace change.”
Other Founder’s Day events included the Alice Coachman Relay for Life kickoff and the ASU Family Reunion Student and Alumni Fish Fry.