Sunday, August 13, 2017
LORMAN, Mississippi — The Alcorn State University family gathered in Vicksburg Saturday to say their final goodbyes to long-time band director Samuel Griffin.
To many people at Alcorn, Griffin wasn’t just a band director — he was a father figure. Annette Jones-Baskin is one of Griffin’s former students, “He’s been like a mentor, father figure, role model. He was a whole lot to me so he gave me the opportunity to go to college because I was from a family that couldn’t afford to send me to a university.”
Throughout his nearly 50 year career at Alcorn, Griffin provided dozens of students with scholarships and promising futures.
“He put quite a few people through school,” says former student Keith Thompson. “And if it wouldn’t have been for my band scholarship I don’t know if I would have even gone to school.”
Jeffrey Knight agrees, “The scholarships that he gave over the years, from all walks of life, venture out and get different careers and he was always behind them as long as you did a positive thing about it. He was always there for you.”
Griffin is best known for giving the marching band it’s nickname, Dyn-O-Mite.
Griffin began his career at Alcorn in 1966. Following a brief period as assistant band director, Griffin assumed the position as director of bands in 1969. He created the marching band nickname, Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite and was well known for his auxiliary innovations, including the Golden Girls and the Purple Flashers Flag Corp. He led the marching band to halftime shows in high profile venues including the Miami Orange Bowl, Los Angeles Coliseum, Houston Astrodome, the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and the Superdome in New Orleans the year of its opening in 1975.
Griffin displayed his love for Alcorn by being one of the University’s top recruiters. Under his leadership, a number of students made Alcorn their school of choice. Many graduated to successful professional careers and lives, crediting Griffin as an integral contributor to their achievement.
While Griffin distinguished himself as a musician and band extraordinaire, he also supported the mission of the University through outstanding community service. In addition to the hundreds of parades for municipalities, school districts, and civic organizations, he served as a clinician and adjudicator for many festivals and competitions. Griffin retired from Alcorn in 2012.
In November 2016, the Band Hall at Alcorn was named in Griffin’s honor. In January 2017, he received the Honda Battle of the Bands’ Honoree Award for his outstanding contributions to historically black college and university marching bands.
COURTESY ALCORN STATE UNIVERSITY MEDIA RELATIONS