Higgins honored by Troy University

Published 9:07 pm Tuesday, March 23, 2021

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Troy University hosted the first Unity Prayer Breakfast on June 25, 2020, as a way of bringing leaders from across the county together to talk about the social injustice and racial tensions prevalent throughout America.

On March 17, 2021, Troy University hosted the second annual Unity Prayer Breakfast in the newly renovated Trojan Center Ballrooms. That being a special occasion, the university took the opportunity to announce that the beautiful ballrooms inside the university’s Trojan Student Center would be named in honor of Lamar P. Higgins, Troy University’s first African American Student Government Association president and also one of the university’s most celebrated Trustees.

Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. said Higgins was twice elected SGA president and was the first African American Trustee.

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“Mr. Higgins was instrumental in us building and locating the Rosa Parks Museum on our Montgomery Campus on the very spot where Mrs. Parks was arrested,” Hawkins said. “It was Mr. Higgins’ idea to initiate the African American Leadership Conference which now, for two decades, has been the centerpiece of Black History Month at Troy. We owe so much to him.”

C. Gibson Vance, president pro-tem of the Troy University Board of Trustees, said the university’s culture is one of diversity and inclusion.

“No single person has helped to establish and maintain that culture more than Lamar Higgins,” Vance said. “From his years as SGA president until his time as vice president pro-tem of the board where he serves now, no one has loved Troy University more.”

In the documentary, “In His Own Words,” Higgins spoke of 1979 as the year that was the “reckoning moment” for the establishment of that culture at Troy University.

In 1979, Willie Tullis was the university’s first Black quarterback. Bobby Lawrence was the first Black drum major; Kim Davis was elected the university’s first Black Homecoming Queen; and she was crowned by Lamar Higgins, the university’s first Black SGA president.

“That was a banner year of change for the university and change for the better,” Higgins said. “It was an opportunity for people to see that Troy could be something different.”

Higgins said until then, he did not think people had put it all together.

“But, to get to Homecoming 1979 and see a Black quarterback, a Black drum major and a Black homecoming queen crowned by a Black SGA president, was our reckoning moment.”

Higgins said Troy University has been a part of his life for almost half of his life and during that time, he has tried to remind the University to be inclusive.

Now, he said, the students get it.

Students from across the country and the world, come together in the realization that more can be done than can be done divided.

Higgins gets it.

Troy University gets it.