Several black alumni and staff were honored at the inaugural Black Alumni Chapter Awards Banquet and Gala on Saturday, October 17 during Homecoming 2015 at East Carolina University. The theme of the event was “an evening of celebration, inspiration, and success.”
“The first BAC Awards Banquet has been more than I ever could have imagined,” said BAC President Sheridan Barnes. “East Carolina University has so many wonderfully diverse and talented alumni. I am humbled by the support of the attendees and the many campus and community contributors.”
Three new awards were presented by Karen Evans ’80, an attorney and partner at The Cochran Firm in Washington, DC, who served as chair of the awards committee.
“These awards were created by the Black Alumni Chapter to recognize extraordinary individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities, their professions, and to East Carolina University,” said BAC Vice President Dr. Anthony Jackson. “We are continuing to grow, lead, impact, and influence. We also appreciate the support and participation of the Division of Student Affairs and the East Carolina Alumni Association in making this evening a success.”
The Dr. Andrew A. Best Trailblazer Award, which recognizes groundbreakers, innovators, and pioneers, went to Brigadier General James R. Gorham ’81. Gorham is the first African-American officer in the NC National Guard to become a general. He retired in 2012 after 38 years in the military. Gorham also delivered the Fall 2010 commencement address at ECU.
The Laura Marie Leary Elliott Courageous Leader Award went to ECU Trustee Danny R. Scott ’84. Recipients of this award demonstrate significant accomplishments in their fields, model principled leadership, and exhibit civic, cultural, or charitable involvement in the community. In addition to being a member of the ECU Board of Trustees, Scott has 27 years of experience in marketing and has endowed a scholarship in the College of Business. This award is named for the first black full-time student to graduate from ECU.
The Ledonia S. Wright Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award went to Tarrick Cox ’96, ’07, the senior associate director for undergraduate admissions. Named for the founder and first director of the Afro-American Cultural Center at ECU, now the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, this award recognizes past or present faculty or staff members who have made outstanding contributions to educating ECU students. Cox works to recruit students to ECU, particularly underrepresented populations, and is also an adviser for three student groups on campus.
“I was very surprised! I am very humbled by this honor and look forward to doing more for the ECU community,” Cox said. “I thoroughly enjoyed the event. I have attended a number of black alumni events but this one was has set the bar for the future. My favorite part of the night was meeting and chatting with the many alumni from the classes before me. To hear the stories from graduates of the 80s and early 90s was wonderful. Our institution has come a long ways but still has more work to do.”
Also recognized was ECU student Joseph Bryant, the first recipient of the Laura Marie Leary Elliott Scholarship.
Click here for more photos from the Black Alumni Chapter Awards Banquet and Gala.
By Jackie Drake