CSU Celebrates Diversity Thursday with Judge Glenda Hatchett

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s seventh annual celebration of diversity and inclusion — the 2017 Diversity Forum — is set for next Thursday, March 30.

Presented by CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services, the Diversity Forum is a day-long conference and evening banquet that showcases successes in inclusion on CSU’s campus and fosters discussions on a broad range of relevant issues — immigration, race, religion, sexuality, disability, poverty, and cultural competence — to discover best practices for a better future. Attendees will take part in inclusive active learning exercises that can be repeated in their own workplaces or with team or community group members.

“I am full of excitement and anticipation for CSU’s day of diversity,” said Johniqua Williams, development specialist for diversity programs at CSU. “We will have a full day of personal and professional development in the arena of inclusion and equity. We want participants to come ready to learn to work with diverse people and situations in the workplace or in the classroom.”

Judge Glenda Hatchett, a seasoned litigator with more than 30 years of experience as a judge, corporate lawyer, and corporate and nonprofit board member, is the evening’s keynote speaker. From 2000-2008, Hatchett presided over the two-time Emmy-nominated, nationally syndicated show, “Judge Hatchett.” In 2014, she founded The Hatchett Firm, a national law firm specializing in catastrophic accidents, wrongful deaths, medical malpractice, reputational and marketing risks, and product liability.

Hatchett is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and Emory University School of Law, where she was an Earl Warren Scholar. She completed a prestigious federal clerkship in the United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia. She spent nearly 10 years as a senior attorney at Delta Air Lines, where she was the airline’s highest-ranking woman of color worldwide. Hatchett also was the first African-American Chief Presiding Judge of a state court in Georgia (Fulton County).

Hatchett is speaking during the Legacy Celebration, the evening portion of the Diversity Forum, which begins at 6 p.m. in CSU’s Lumpkin Center. The Diversity Conference will be held in CSU’s Cunningham Conference Center from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The Diversity Committee has worked hard to ensure that this year’s Diversity Forum is packed with quality speakers and facilitators,” said Williams. “To cap the day, we will celebrate those who are drum majors for justice, equality and inclusion within the university and local community.”

Tickets are $30 and include admission to both the conference and the Legacy Celebration. Tables are available for $240. For more information about the 2017 Diversity Forum or to purchase tickets online, visit diversity.columbusstate.edu or contact Johniqua Williams at 706-5078594 or Williams_Johniqua@ColumbusState.edu.

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Diversity Forum Showcases Columbus State University’s Commitment to Diversity

 

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COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University celebrated its commitment to fostering a safe and diverse campus Thursday, March 10 with a daylong conference and dinner/awards ceremony, collectively called the Diversity Forum.

For the first time in the history of the Legacy Celebration, the ceremony was held in CSU’s Lumpkin Center. The previous location could not accommodate the more than 400 attendees for the sold-out annual banquet.

Headlining this year’s dinner was Eric Thomas, an internationally acclaimed author, educator, pastor and motivational speaker known as the “Hip-Hop Preacher.” He uses energetic messages laced with lessons from his own past to inspire Fortune 500 companies, such as General Electric, Nike and AT&T, major league teams from the NFL, NBA, MLS and MLB, and collegiate athletic programs, and now Columbus State University.

“Eric’s messages transcend all barriers, populations and generations,” said Johniqua Williams, development specialist for CSU’s Diversity Programs. “When he speaks, everyone listens.”

During the Legacy Celebration Banquet, CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services honored the following:

— Katelyn Longino, Women’s Leadership Award
— Cylina Velazquez, Community Outreach Award
— Dee Anderson, Outstanding Student with Disability Award
— Shawn Padonu, Lavender Alliance Community Award
— Stephanie Carney, Baptist Collegiate Ministry, Faith-Based and Humanitarian Award
— Madison Montgomery, Servant Leadership, Civic Engagement Award
— Avery Rosser, Alumni Award
— Joy Norman, Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award
— Diana Smith, Goizueta Foundation Scholarship Award
— Rasheed Mumuney and Tracey Carruthers, John Townsend Achievement Award
— Laura Galindo-Montoya, Kiongozi Award for Outstanding International Leadership

Participants in the Diversity Conference, which was held the same day as the banquet, exchanged ideas and opinions about topics ranging from homelessness and poverty to religious discrimination.

“The Diversity Conference was a great opportunity to network, workshop and engage in a dialogue that will not only continue CSU’s legacy of inclusion, but help reinforce solutions that are relevant worldwide,” Williams said.

Conference participants were joined by Ariel Ennis of the Of Many Institute for Interfaith Leadership, a NYU-based center founded by Chelsea Clinton and devoted to educating and inspiring religious and spiritual leaders to utilize multifaith dialogue.

For more information about the Diversity Forum, visit https://diversity.columbusstate.edu/diversityforum.php.

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High School Visitors Star in Video Sent to the White House [VIDEO]

More than seventy students from area high schools visited Columbus State University on Thursday, Feb. 26 to participate in the African American Male Initiative’s “College Student for a Day” experience.

CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services captured the day’s events and submitted a video to the White House on Friday, Feb. 27 in response to Michelle Obama’s “Near-Peer Mentoring College Challenge.” The challenge, a Reach Higher initiative, asks institutions to share how they are making attending and completing college a reality for students.

Video finalists might earn a visit from the First Lady during spring 2015 commencement ceremonies.

“We believe this event, along with our continuous outreach, will perpetuate the cycle of recruitment, retention, and most importantly graduation for high school and college males,” said Johniqua Williams, student development specialist for CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services.

For more information about Michelle Obama’s commencement challenge, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/30/first-lady-michelle-obama-announces-reach-higher-commencement-challenges. To learn more about CSU’s African American Male Initiative, visit https://diversity.columbusstate.edu/AAMI.php or contact Williams at 706-507-8594 or williams_johniqua@columbusstate.edu.

 

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Oscar Winner to Speak at CSU Legacy Celebration Banquet

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Marlee Matlin

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Marlee Matlin, the youngest  Best Actress Oscar winner for her role in “Children of a Lesser God,” will be the keynote speaker for Columbus State University’s Legacy Celebration Banquet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 26 at CSU’s Cunningham Center.

A 6:30 p.m. reception precedes the sold-out banquet.

In addition to Matlin’s remarks, the event will feature the presentation of awards and scholarships to students, including Women’s Leadership, Servant Leadership, Outstanding Student with Disability, Outstanding Faculty-Staff, Outstanding Ally, Lavender Alliance Community, Faith-based and Humanitarian, John Townsend Achievement Award, Kiongozi Award for Outstanding International Leadership and the CSU Goizueta Foundation Scholarships.

Matlin, who received international critical acclaim for her work in the 1986 film, “Children of a Lesser God,” was 21 when she won the Best Actress Oscar. She is one of just four actresses to receive the honor for her film debut, and she’s the only deaf performer to win an Academy Award. In addition to the Oscar, Matlin won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama. Over her career, Matlin has 51 acting credits on both the big and small screens.

Matlin also starred in her own NBC series, “Reasonable Doubts,” opposite Mark Harmon, and the Emmy Award-winning “Picket Fences” for CBS. Matlin was twice nominated for both a Golden Globe Award as Best Actress in a Drama as well as the People’s Choice Awards and has been nominated for four Emmy awards for her guest appearances on “Seinfeld, “Picket Fences,” “The Practice” and “Law and Order: SVU.” Matlin also starred for seven years on the award-winning drama, “The West Wing,” and has made numerous guest appearances on such shows as  “ER,” “Desperate Housewives,” “CSI: New York,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Nip/Tuck” and “Family Guy.”

In 2007, she joined the cast of the groundbreaking series “The L Word” for three seasons and broke barriers once again, this time in reality TV when she challenged America to “read my hips,” on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” and on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” In 1994, Matlin was appointed by President Clinton to the Corporation for National Service and served as chair for National Volunteer Week. Matlin currently serves as a national celebrity spokesperson for the American Red Cross and was instrumental in getting legislation passed in Congress in support of closed captioning. She also serves on the boards of a number of charitable organizations including Easter Seals and the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation.

Matlin, a mother of four, has also authored three books for younger readers, “Deaf Child Crossing,” “Nobody’s Perfect” (with Doug Cooney) and “Leading Ladies.” In 2009, she published her New York Times best-selling autobiography, “I’ll Scream Later.”

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Holocaust Survivor Marion Lazan to Speak at Legacy Banquet

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Marion Blumenthal Lazan, a Holocaust survivor, will be the keynote speaker for Columbus State University’s annual Legacy Celebration Banquet at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at the Cunningham Center.Marion Blumenthal Lazan

Lazan began speaking publicly about her Holocaust experiences in 1979. Since publication of her 1996 memoir, Four Perfect Pebbles, co-authored by Lila Perl, more than 1 million students and adults have heard the first-hand account of her Blumenthal family’s ordeal in presentations at schools, organizations and houses of worship around the globe. She details her family’s struggle from events preceding Kristallnacht, the November 1938 Nazi uprising that led to the imprisonment of 30,000 Jews in concentration camps, until her family was liberated more than six years later, when Lazan was 10 years old and weighed just 35 pounds.

“Mrs. Lazan’s powerful story is one that should be heard by everyone,” said Kimberly McElveen, CSU’s senior director of student engagement. “Her life is a testament to her determination and her perseverance in the face of incredible adversity.”

The annual banquet, hosted by CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services, aims to celebrate the evolving legacies of CSU students and features awards in the following areas: Women’s Leadership, Servant Leadership, Greek Leadership, Outstanding Student with a Disability, Lavender Alliance Community, Faith-based and Humanitarian, John Townsend Achievement Award, recipients of the CSU Goizueta Foundation Scholarship, and the Kiongozi Award for Outstanding International Leadership.

The reception begins at 6:30 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the CSU Bookstore and online at ColumbusState.edu/legacycelebration. Ticket prices are $12 for CSU students, or $70 for a table of eight, and $30 for the general public, or $180 for a table of eight.

 

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New CSU Awards Banquet to Feature Bernice King

Bernice KingCOLUMBUS, Ga. – The youngest child of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. will help Columbus State University’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services start a new tradition of celebrating achievement in the context of CSU’s cultural diversity.

Bernice King will give the keynote address for CSU’s inaugural Legacy Celebration Banquet, 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18 in the new Student Recreation Center. The event also will involve recognitions of achievement by Hispanic, African-American and international students and related to servant leadership and women’s and GLBTQ (Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning) causes. Awards recognizing humanitarian and faith-based achievement also will be presented.

The event is about “celebrating the legacies of our students and the precedence that they are setting for others to follow, said Dynasty Battest, who is organizing the program as CSU’s coordinator of diversity programs and services.

King’s speech “will highlight the importance of cultural diversity in today’s society and provide insight to our future leaders to raise their standards,” Battest said.

An active minister with a master’s degree in divinity, King also is a member of the State Bar of Georgia with a juris doctorate from Emory University. She is respected worldwide for her motivational speeches and recently served as the first woman elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Darryl Holloman said the banquet’s format is “aligned with today’s student attitudes, as well as the mission of its sponsoring office.” That mission is to “foster student development, increase cultural awareness and provide globally-focused learning outcomes through activities and programs that enhance the academic and social needs of a diverse and ever-changing university population.”

Admission is $20 per person or $125 per eight-seat table. For CSU students, the cost is $10 per seat or $60 per table. Tickets can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore or online.

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Washington Trip Elevates Students’ Self-Standards

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Four Columbus State University undergraduates are energized with a renewed sense of purpose after participating in the 40th Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

The mid-September event involved private and public sector leaders and experts discussing African-American community challenges from economic security to the environment.

Among the programs, an “Emerging Leaders” roundtable piqued the interests of seniors Brandon Williams and Michael Ikuesan and juniors Philip King and Avery Rosser.

The roundtable left each of the Columbus State students hungry to emulate the participants, who included Obama administration policy professionals and state-level elected officials, such as Alisha Morgan, who, at age 23, became the youngest person ever elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2000.

Morgan’s feat and her words during the roundtable resonated with Williams, an exercise science major. “Witnessing the roundtable and especially hearing Rep. Morgan say ‘We are the future of tomorrow, but we need to start today,’ really opened my eyes to how far I can push myself and expand my goals.”

The impression on Williams illustrates the trip’s purpose and its parent initiative, Projecting Hope, said CSU Student Development Specialist Bernard McCrary, who accompanied the students to Washington.

McCrary developed Projecting Hope to boost recruitment and retention of African-American males, especially students from rural and small-town backgrounds like Williams (Thomasville) and Rosser (Greenville). In its second year, the program was initiated through CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services with funding via the University System of Georgia’s African American Male Initiative.

The words, “be a movement, not a monument,” from Baltimore minister Jamal Bryant during a prayer breakfast speech, linger in King’s conscience. “Before the conference, I felt good about a 3.0 GPA, but (Bryant’s) message is helping me keep focused on making the most of every day and every resource available to me to be a 4.0 student.”

Rosser, who, like King, is a criminal justice-pre-law major, said listening to, and being part of, a gathering of high-achieving professionals close to his age, has provided invaluable perspective. I thought I was doing OK for myself, but now I’m thinking, ‘wow, it’s really competitive out there and I have a lot to do in order to build a competitive resume for myself.’”

Ikuesan, a middle grades education major specializing in mathematics, echoed Rosser. “The energy around the conference has given me a different drive and motivation to really be a difference-maker for the students I will be teaching.” said Ikuesan, who is teaching under mentor supervision this semester at Reese Road Elementary School in Columbus.

The education-focused programs he attended during the conference emphasized the philosophy of engaging young students in an interactive classroom environment. “Children best learn when they experience what they are learning,” he said.

In addition to the conference, the CSU group visited landmarks such as the Arlington Cemetery, Capitol Hill and the Watergate Hotel. They also toured and heard about graduate programs at Howard and George Washington universities, accompanied by communication professor and 2009 CSU Educator of the Year Nikita Harris, a doctoral graduate of Howard.

Rosser shared insight from the trip with a freshman seminar class taught by McCrary. Rosser recounted details ranging from the Emerging Leaders forum to advice on applying for employment with the executive branch of the federal government.

McCrary said he is working to continue these types of trips and encourage more participants to share their experiences with other students.

“The experience raised my political and global awareness,” Rosser said. “It’s given me a better sense of where I am and where I need to be.”

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One-Man Play, Read-In, Banquet Highlight Black History Month

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Award-winning actor, singer, writer, poet and Yale graduate Daniel Beaty will perform his acclaimed one-man play, Emergency, at University Hall auditorium on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 12:30 p.m.

This keynote event of Columbus State University’s Black History Month Celebration is free and open to the public.

Also part of Black History Month at CSU is a Feb. 18 African-American Read-In and the annual Black Applause Banquet on Feb. 26.

Formerly titled Emergence SEE!, Beaty’s 43-character play portrays reactions to the sudden appearance of a slave ship near the Statue of Liberty in present-day New York Harbor.

“I’m telling a very specifically African-American story, but everyone of any race can find themselves in this story,” said Beaty in a recent interview with popular talk-show host Tavis Smiley.

In his play, Beaty uses poetry, song, and humor to comment on what he has described as an extremely heavy topic for the modern-day black community: slavery. On his Web site, Beaty states he “has always been interested in what it means to be free, and defines freedom as “the ability to lead a joyful and peaceful life.”

Travis Chambers, Daniel Beaty In Emergency, Beaty examines the question of freedom through his wide-ranging cast. Characters range from ancient ghosts, to children, and even include a republican business executive. “It’s a real picture of the whole African-American community,” Beaty told Smiley.

Emergency had a sold-out debut in New York City. In 2007, the show received the Obie Award for Outstanding Writing and Performance, an off-Broadway theater award. It was also selected as one of New York magazine’s top three shows of 2007. Since then, Beaty has performed his award-winning performance across the nation.

Columbus State University Libraries will host the African-American Read-In at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 in the Schwob library’s first-floor forum area. CSU students, faculty, and staff will read from works by African-American authors. On Friday, Feb. 26, the university will hold its 27th annual Black Applause Banquet in the Cunningham Center’s Blanchard Hall. A 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

A CSU Black History Month tradition, the event will feature recognition of outstanding local high school and CSU students and the presentation of the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award to a local individual or service group, in honor of Townsend, the first African American to enroll at CSU. The keynote speaker will be Travis Chambers, real estate broker for ERA Elite Ventures Realty of Columbus. The company came about when ERA Real Estate merged its Columbus office with then-Elite Ventures Realty, started by Chambers, who had built a 22-agent team and was recognized as in the top four percent of Coldwell Banker agents nationwide.

The banquet is presented by CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services. Tickets are $30. For more information on Daniel Beaty’s performance or the Black Applause Banquet, call 706-568-2273.

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Author-Activist Kevin Powell Speaks to Students, Public

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University will host noted writer and activist Kevin Powell on Monday, Nov. 2 as he launches a statewide series of conversations to motivate young black male students, from middle school on up, to pursue college degrees and career and life success.

All activities will take place in the Davidson Student Center auditorium and conclude with Powell giving a 4 p.m. talk that’s free and open to the public.

Organized by the University System of Georgia’s African American Male Initiative, Powell’s “New Directions Tour” kicks off when he meets from 10:15-11:30 a.m. with 120 high school male students from the Early College Academy of Columbus.

Kevin Powell Powell, right, author of The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life, will have lunch with the early college participants before speaking from 2-3:30 p.m. to 20 CSU students who are participating in “Projecting Hope,” Columbus State’s African American Male Initiative program. Powell also will sign copies of his book at 3:30 p.m.

“Kevin Powell has a gift for connecting and conversing with young black men and for getting them to discuss with him their possibilities for a better future,” said Arlethia Perry-Johnson, project director for AAMI. “We want to inspire our students to think about new directions for their lives, and we are looking forward to the strong impact we know Kevin will have in motivating our youth to achieve — both educationally and personally.”

The inclusion of Columbus on Powell’s statewide tour is made possible in part by Projecting Hope, launched earlier this year as CSU’s AAMI vehicle. The project targets black males, ages 17-25, in Talbot Taylor and Troup counties — the largest rural feeder counties of African-American males to CSU. The project dovetails with the USG’s AAMI mission to enhance the recruitment, retention and graduation of black males from the state’s 35 public colleges and universities.

Powell, who ran for Congress in 2008 as a Democratic candidate from Brooklyn, has published nine books collectively, including Someday We’ll all be Free, which is a collection of writings on freedom, democracy, justice and race in America — inspired by Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 presidential election.

Besides his Columbus stop, Powell’s tour of Georgia will include visits to five other colleges and a pair of Atlanta-area high schools.

For more information about Powell’s Columbus appearance, contact Bernard McCrary at 706-568-2273 or mccrary_collins@ColumbusState.edu.

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CSU Expands Efforts to Mentor Rural African-American Males

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University is ramping up recruitment and retention efforts through a new program focused on rural African-American males — a demographic largely missing in higher education.

At CSU, African-American males represent 9 percent of the student body, and just 1 percent (66 students) of that demographic is comprised of students from rural areas.

“Projecting Hope,” coordinated by CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services, will target black males, ages 17-25, in Talbot, Taylor and Troup counties — three of the largest rural feeder counties of African American students to CSU.

The project starts this fall and will involve currently enrolled students, with the idea to recruit additional students as the project grows. The students in the program will be mentored and tracked through their sophomore year. “The intent is to work with these students beyond the pre-entry stage — to retain them and also engage them in future recruitment and peer mentoring activities for the program,” said Student Development Specialist Bernard McCrary, who is coordinating the initiative.

CSU Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Darryl Holloman said the recruitment and retention of African-American men to post-secondary settings is a challenge for most colleges and universities throughout the country. “In the last decade the numbers of African-American men on college campuses has hovered around eight percent and it has stood fairly consistent at that number,” he said. “The Projecting Hope initiative provides an opportunity for Columbus State to take a proactive stance in addressing the critical issue of assisting these men as they navigate the educational pipeline.’

McCrary said the initiative also complements the recent CSU Strategic Plan, particularly its provisions to increase enrollment to 10,000 students by 2011 and create more partnerships with external clients.

Such external collaborators with CSU for the project will include the Taylor, Troup and Talbot county school districts, whose administrators will work closely with CSU in recruitment efforts. Also, the Fort Benning Army Infantry Center and School will host a three-day team and personal-skills building retreat for students in the program, and the Columbus chapter of 100 Black Men of America — whose members include successful professionals — will mentor the students and help facilitate guest speakers for the program.

The 100 Black Men of America participation will extend to introducing the students to professional networking opportunities, as well as various facets of the region’s cultural attractions.

The launch of Projecting Hope is supplemented by a $22,000 grant through the University of Georgia’s African American Male Initiative, which supports a statewide network of similar programs.

For more information on the CSU initiative, call McCrary at 706-568-2273 or e-mail mccrary_collins@ColumbusState.edu.

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Alpha Chapter Receives Townsend Award

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus’ Delta Iota Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., will receive the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award as part of Columbus State University’s 26th annual Black Applause Banquet Friday, Feb. 27 in the Cunningham Center’s Blanchard Hall. The keynote speaker will be state Sen. Emanuel Jones, president of Legacy Chevrolet in Columbus.

The Townsend award, named in honor of the first African American to enroll at Columbus State, recognizes a local individual or organization for positive and noteworthy contributions to the community or for outstanding professional or personal service. Townsend and the Alpha chapter are linked historically by the chapter providing Townsend with tuition assistance for his Columbus College enrollment in the late 1960s.

Led by President Vincent McNeill, the 300-plus-member chapter includes about 50 members who are active in several community outreach and mentoring initiatives. Members are mentoring Eddy Middle School eighth-grade boys through Project Alpha, a national campaign to educate African-American males about the consequences of teenage pregnancy and the roles and responsibilities of fatherhood. The project also aims to reduce the rate of sexual abuse and violence among African-American teens.

Expanding health awareness, the chapter also conducts the Dr. M. Delmar Edwards Men’s Health Awareness Fair to raise awareness of men’s health issues and provides free screening for prostate cancer, high blood pressure and other conditions.

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Awards Breakfast is the chapter’s primary scholarship fundraiser, and the chapter’s Youth Leadership Conference has exposed high school students to workshops on topics such as money management, public speaking, table etiquette and leadership development.

Communitywide, the chapter annually provides Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets to underprivileged families, and the ‘Cool Our Seniors’ program provides box fans to senior citizens and families who do not have air-conditioned living quarters. Chapter members also support the Combined Community Service of Columbus’ academic tutorial program.

Alpha Phi Alpha was established in 1906 as the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity for African Americans and became racially integrated in 1945. The Columbus chapter formed in 1943.

The Black Applause Banquet will open with a 6:30 p.m. reception followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Outstanding students from Columbus State and local high schools will be recognized in addition to the Townsend award presentation and keynote speech. Tickets are $30 per person and available by calling 706-568-2273.

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State Senator to Speak at Black Applause Banquet

COLUMBUS, GA. – A national media personality and the entrepreneur who recently reopened Columbus’ Chevrolet dealership are featured speakers for Black History Month programs at Columbus State University.

Meanwhile, 5 p.m. Friday is the deadline to nominate a local individual or group for the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award. The award, honoring the first African-American student to enroll at CSU, will be presented during CSU’s Feb. 27 Black Applause Banquet. Nominations can be made online at http://minority.colstate.edu/townsend.asp or by calling Bernard McCrary at 706-568-2273.

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, award-winning journalist Jeff Johnson will give a talk themed ‘365 DAYS: Black History Beyond February’ at 12:30 p.m. in the University Hall auditorium. Prior to the speech, which is free and open to the public, students will have an opportunity to meet and greet Johnson, managing editor and chief correspondent for BET’s The Truth with Jeff Johnson, from 11-11:45 a.m. in the foyer of University Hall.

Closing the month, CSU will host state Sen. Emanuel Jones, president of Legacy Chevrolet in Columbus, who will give the keynote speech for the 26th annual Black Applause Banquet on Friday, Feb. 27 in the Cunningham Center’s Blanchard Hall. A 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, $30 per person, are available by calling 706-568-2273.

CSU will kick off its black history celebration with an African-American Read-In at noon, Tuesday, Feb. 3 in the Schwob Library. The Read-In, presented in part by CSU Libraries as part of the National Council of Teachers of English 2009 National African-American Read-In, will feature faculty, staff and students reading passages from their favorite works by African-American authors. This program is free and open to the public. Call 706-365-3684 for more information.

Johnson, whose first book, Everything I’m Not Made Me Everything I Am: Discovering Your Personal B.E.S.T, is scheduled for release in May, also provides weekly commentary on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show. In addition to his BET show, he has contributed frequently to MSNBC’s Dayside and Hardball with Chris Matthews, CNN, FOX News Channel, Huffington Post and other media outlets and Internet sites, including his own: http://www.jeffsnation.com.

He earned a 2008 Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists for BET’s Life & Death in Darfur: Jeff Johnson Reports series and is one of 30 young leaders selected for the British Council’s Transatlantic 2020 team of Europeans and Americans for a new cross-border dialogue to reinvigorate traditional alliances and mend transatlantic rifts.

Jones made local headlines in December when he purchased Columbus’ former Bill Heard Chevrolet, Cadillac and Saab stores. He also owns auto dealerships in metro Atlanta and North Carolina while representing portions of DeKalb and Henry counties in the Georgia Senate.

He has drawn recognition for community and business leadership through honors such as the Metro Atlanta YMCA Volunteer of the Year, Ford Motor Minority Dealer Executive Director’s Award and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Service Firm of the Year.

In addition to Jones’ presentation, the Black Applause Banquet will feature recognition of outstanding local high school and CSU students and the presentation of the Townsend award.

Black History Month programs at CSU are presented by the university’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services. For more information, call 706-568-2273.

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CSU Accepting Townsend Award Nominations; Deadline Jan. 30

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University is accepting nominations for its Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award, named in honor the first African-American student to enroll at CSU.

The deadline to submit a nomination is 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30. Nominations can be submitted online at http://minority.colstate.edu/townsend.asp.

Written nominations also will be accepted on official forms available in Davidson 271 during regular university business hours. Completed forms can be turned in to the office or addressed to Bernard McCrary, Office of Student Life, Columbus State University, 4225 University Ave., Columbus, Ga. 31907.

The award recognizes an individual, organization or group from Columbus, Phenix City, Fort Benning or surrounding areas that has made a positive and noteworthy contribution to the community or achieved distinction for outstanding professional or personal service. The nominee also must exemplify high moral character and be held in high esteem by the local community.

The award will be presented as part of CSU’s 26th annual Black Applause Banquet on Friday, Feb. 27 at the Cunningham Center.

CSU presented the award last year to Columbus City Manager Isaiah Hugley.

For more information, call McCrary at 706-568-2273.

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CSU Happenings for Dec. 19-30

Columbus State Accepting Townsend Award Nominations Columbus State University is accepting nominations for the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award named in honor of Townsend as the first African-American student to enroll at CSU.

The award, to be presented at CSU’s Feb. 27 Black Applause Banquet, recognizes an individual, organization or group from Columbus, Phenix City, Fort Benning or surrounding areas, that has made a positive, noteworthy contribution to the community or achieved distinction for outstanding professional or personal service. The nominee also must exemplify high moral character and be held in high esteem by the local community.

Nominations can be made online at http://minority.colstate.edu/townsend.asp. Written nominations also will be accepted on official forms available in Davidson 271 during regular university business hours. Completed forms can be submitted to the office or mailed to Bernard McCrary, Office of Student Life, Columbus State University, 4225 University Ave., Columbus, Ga. 31907. The nomination deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30. For more information, call McCrary at 706-568-2273.

DEC. 19 – Early Registration to Close
The spring 2009 early registration process for all students will close at 6 p.m. Friday. Late registration for all students will run Jan. 5-16. For more information, go to http://registration.colstate.edu/.

DEC. 18-20 – NCAA Men’s Basketball: CSU Holiday Classic
The Columbus State men’s basketball squad will compete with two other teams in the CSU Holiday Classic, Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 18-20, at the Lumpkin Center. The matchups are Mars Hill vs. Montevallo, 7 p.m. Thursday; CSU vs. Mars Hill, 7 p.m. Friday; and CSU vs. Montevallo, 4 p.m Saturday. Daily admission prices are $5 for adults; $3 for students/kids (including non-CSU students); and free for ages 5 and under and CSU students, faculty and staff with ID. For more information, call 706-568-2204 or go to http://www.csucougars.com.

DEC. 23-29 – Columbus State Offices to Close
Columbus State will close its offices Tuesday through Friday, Dec. 23-26 and Monday, Dec. 29 for the holidays.

DEC. 30 – NCAA Men’s Basketball: Valdosta State
The CSU men’s basketball squad will host Valdosta State for a contest at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 30 in the Lumpkin Center. Admission prices are $5 for adults; $3 for students/kids (including non-CSU students); and free for ages 5 and under and CSU students, faculty and staff with ID. For more information, call 706-568-2204 or go to http://www.csucougars.com.

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CSU Honors Columbus City Manager with Townsend Award

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University will honor Isaiah Hugley during its 25th annual Black Applause Banquet Friday, Feb. 22 at the Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center.

Isaiah HugleyHugley, right, city manager for Columbus Consolidated Government since February 2005, will accept the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award, named in honor of CSU’s first African-American student.

A CSU Black History Month tradition, the banquet will open with a 6:30 p.m. wine and cheese reception and dinner at 7 p.m. The event also will involve recognitions of outstanding local high school and CSU students, and a keynote speech by Columbus attorney Michael Eddings.

The Townsend Award recognizes community and-or professional service and achievement, and Hugley’s nominators cited both.

Hugley, married to state Rep. Carolyn Fleming Hugley, manages more than 2,700 employees and a $205 million budget in his present role. Earlier he served as deputy city manager and director of Columbus’ Department of Transportation and METRA transit system.

Also a leader among his peers, Hugley is president-elect of the Georgia City-County Managers Association, serves on the boards of directors for Uptown Columbus Inc. and the Greater Columbus, Ga., Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of both Leadership Georgia and Leadership Columbus.

“Isaiah Hugley’s greatest satisfaction comes from helping others and giving back to his community,” one nominator said.

Hugley is president of the West Central Georgia Cancer Coalition, serves on board of directors for the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, Inc., and serves on the Franchise Missionary Baptist Church Board of Deacons-Trustees.

He also is part of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. National Board of Directors and serves as president of the organization’s Columbus chapter.

Additional service group memberships include the Civilian & Military Council and Rotary Club of Columbus.

Hugley, 50, was born in Crawford, Ala., and later moved with his family to Phenix City, then Columbus. He graduated from Spencer High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in history-pre-law from Talladega College (Ala.) and a master’s degree in public policy and public administration from Mississippi State University. His career started as a student teacher at MSU and a public management intern in the Mississippi Governor’s Office of Human Development. He later held positions at the Mississippi Council on Aging and the Mississippi Department of Energy and Transportation and returned to Columbus in 1984 as METRA assistant director.

Prior to Hugley’s award acceptance, banquet-goers will hear from keynote speaker Eddings, a former U.S. Army officer., who served 1994-1996 as commander of the U.S. Army Honor Guard Company at the White House and Pentagon. He later served as aide-de-camp to the Secretary of the Army.

Banquet tickets ($25) will not be sold at the door and are available until 5 p.m. today (Feb. 21) by calling 706-568-2273 or 706-565-3657.

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CSU Accepting Townsend Award Nominations; Deadline Jan. 31

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State Univesity is accepting nominations for the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award, named in honor of the first African-American student to enroll at CSU.

Nominations can be made online at http://minority.colstate.edu/townsend.asp.

Written nominations also will be accepted on official forms available in Davidson Student Center 271 during regular university business hours. Completed forms can be turned in to the office or addressed to Bernard McCrary, Minority Affairs Coordinator, Columbus State University, 4225 University Ave., Columbus, Ga. 31907.

The deadline to submit a nomination is 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31.

The award recognizes an individual, organization or group from Columbus, Phenix City, Fort Benning, or surrounding areas, that has made a positive and noteworthy contribution to the community, or achieved distinction for outstanding professional or personal service. The nominee also must exemplify high moral character and be held in high esteem by the local community.

The award will be presented at CSU’s annual Black Applause Banquet on Feb. 22 at CSU’s Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center. Tickets will be available after Jan. 11. For more information, call McCrary at 706-568-2273.

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Lonnie Jackson Honored at CSU’s Black Applause Banquet

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University will honor longtime community activist Lonnie Jackson during CSUs 24th annual Black Applause Banquet on Friday, Feb. 23 in the Cunningham Center. A 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, $25 each, must be purchased in advance, and are available by calling 706-568-2273.

The event will feature recognitions of outstanding local high school and CSU students, and the presentation of the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award, recognizing outstanding community service and leadership. The award is in honor of Townsend, the first African-American to enroll at CSU.

LonnieThis years Townsend honoree is Lonnie Jackson, left, who died in September 2006 at age 77. The award will be presented to Jacksons daughter, Lonya Jackson-Sarden on behalf of Combined Communities of Southeast Columbus (CCSC), a service organization founded by Jackson in 1983.

The CCSC particularly is noted for its ongoing academic tutorial program that has served more than 26,000 K-8 students in the past 25 years. Under Jacksons guidance, the program also flourished by incorporating local, certified teachers and aides who have tutored the students at various local elementary schools. CSU students, among others in the community, also have supported the program as volunteers.

A citywide voting awareness campaign is another CCSC endeavor Jackson developed and steered. He also initiated anti-litter and community beautification campaigns, including Operation Esprit de Corps, Litter-Free Schools and the MLK Pride Month Clean Up Drive.

Jackson, who retired in 1972 from the U.S. Army as Sergeant First Class, also co-founded the committees that established the Vietnam Memorial Park at the corner of Buena Vista Road and Lawyers Lane in Columbus. The memorial honors 119 soldiers fallen comrades of Jackson, a Korean War veteran, who also served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War.

Jacksons service to Columbus and the surrounding region has earned numerous state and local honors, as well as national recognition. In 1993, he received the Presidents Volunteer Action Award from President Bill Clinton and the Points of Light Foundation. Jackson also received a 2001 Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service.

CSU President Frank Brown said the university is privileged to formally recognize Jackson and his legacy. Our friend Lonnie Jackson had a heart for service. His outstanding community work on behalf of students, and in building pride in our neighborhoods and our country, will not soon be forgotten. We are honored at CSU to place his name in the universitys records as one who truly made a difference.

In addition to honoring Jackson and recognizing local students, the Black Applause Banquet will feature keynote speaker Bismarck Myrick, former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho and Republic of Liberia. He is a professor of history and political science at Old Dominion University, a senior fellow at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., and he serves on the World Affairs Council among various other bodies.

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Black History Month Events Announced

COLUMBUS, Ga.- Columbus State University is celebrating Black History Month 2007, themed From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas, with the following public events:

Gospel Extravaganza: 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 in Fine Arts Hall
Return to Little Rock presentation by Minnijean Brown Trickey: 12:30 p,m, Tuesday, Feb. 20 in Fine Arts Hall
Black Applause Banquet: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 in CSUs Cunningham Center

Trickeys visit is significant this year as 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., by nine African-American teenagers. Trickey is one of that group, now known as the Little Rock Nine. CSU will remember this defining Civil Rights Movement with Trickeys Return to Little Rock presentation. The program will be free and open to the public.

Prior to her public lecture, Trickey will speak to students in CSU education professor Jose Villavicencios Diversity in Education class, starting 9:30 a.m. (Not open to the public, media coverage is welcome. The site is Jordan 316.)

When Trickey faced down an angry mob to help desegregate an all-white school on Sept. 25, 1957, it marked the beginning of her career as a crusader for civil rights of minority groups and the dispossessed. Her work has garnered the U.S. Congressional Medal, the Wolf Award, the Spingarn Medal and many other citations.

Under the Clinton administration, she served as deputy assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior, responsible for diversity. Also a teacher specializing in social work education, she has served as faculty member at Carleton University (Minn.), and for various community colleges in Canada. She also is the subject of the 2004 film documentary, Journey to Little Rock: the Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey, which received critical acclaim at international film festivals in England, and in Africa, South America and North America.

Prior to Trickeys appearance, CSU will stage its annual Gospel Extravaganza. The event will feature the CSU Gospel Choir, the Gospel Messengers and Musics Definition. The latter act is a teen quartet, featuring Columbus Devin Johnson, an American Idol group-audition finalist last year who performed in Hollywood after winning preliminary competitions locally and in Chicago. He returned as a solo performer in the current season and auditioned in Birmingham, appearing in an American Idol segment that aired Jan. 30.

CSU will close its Black History Month series with the 24th annual Black Applause Banquet on Feb. 23 at the Cunningham Center. A 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The event will feature recognitions of outstanding local high school and CSU students, and the presentation of the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award to a local individual or service group, in honor of Townsend, the first African-American to enroll at CSU.

The banquets keynote speaker will be Bismarck Myrick, former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho and Republic of Liberia. He is a professor of history and political science at Old Dominion University, a senior fellow at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., and he serves on the World Affairs Council among various other bodies.

Tickets are $25 per person. For more information on the banquet and all other Black History Month programs, call 706-568-2273.

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Townsend Award Nomination Form Now Online; Deadline Jan. 31

Nominations for the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award can now be made online.

The deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31 to submit a nomination for the award, named in honor of Townsend, the first African-American student to enroll at CSU.

The award recognizes an individual, organization or group from Columbus, Phenix City, Fort Benning, or surrounding areas that has made a positive and noteworthy contribution to the community, or achieved distinction for outstanding professional or personal service. In addition to meeting the above criteria, the nominee must also exemplify high moral character and be held in high esteem by the local community.

CSU now boasts one of the most diverse college student bodies in Georgia, with 32 percent of the fall 2006 student body identified as African-American, 58 percent white and the remainder other ethnicities.

The award will be presented at CSUs annual Black Applause Banquet on Feb. 23 at CSUs Cunningham Center. For more information, call Bernard McCrary at 706-568-2273 or send e-mail to him at mccrary_collins@ColumbusState.edu.

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Tax Commissioner Lula Huff to be Honored at Black Applause Banquet

Columbus State University will present the 2006 Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award to Muscogee County Tax Commissioner Lula Huff. The presentation will be part of CSUs 23rd annual Black Applause Banquet Friday, Feb. 24 at CSUs Cunningham Center.

The event will open with a 6:30 p.m. reception, followed by a 7 p.m. dinner and the awards ceremony. Richard Holmes, Georgia Powers senior vice president of metro Atlanta region and diversity/corporate relations, is the keynote speaker. Holmes grew up in Columbus and is a graduate of Spencer High School and CSU. For banquet tickets, $25 per person, call 706-568-2023 or 568-2273.

Awards will be presented to outstanding local high school and CSU students, in addition to the Townsend award, commemorating John Townsend as the first African-American student to enroll at CSU. Huff, as this years recipient, is recognized for outstanding service to her profession and community and exemplifying high moral character.

First elected in 1997 as Muscogee Countys first African-American tax commissioner, Huff is responsible for collecting more than $135 million in tax revenue yearly. She began her professional career as an accountant at the firm Ernst & Young in 1973. and subsequently served as chief internal auditor for Columbus Consolidated Government and as an instructor at Troy State University. In 1984, she joined Pratt & Whitney as a senior financial/cost analyst and advanced through the companys ranks to a 1995 appointment as chief financial officer for Pratt & Whitneys sister organization Precision Components International, Inc .

According to the nomination submitted on her behalf for the Townsend honor, Huff leads by quiet example and gives unselfishly of her time and resources, mentoring young professionals and encouraging children and college students to pursue their goals and resources.

Huffs professional and civic affiliations are numerous including, but not limited to, Holy Family Catholic Church, Mother Mary School Board, Delta Sigma Theta Public Service Sorority Inc., Chattahoochee Valley Community Foundation Board/Moving Forward Together, Links, Inc., Georgia Society of CPAs, Jack & Jill of America Inc., Columbus Museum, Liberty Theater Historic Preservation Board, Delta Life Development Foundation Board, County Officers Association of Georgia, Georgia Association of Tax Officials, the Tax Commissioners Technology Board, Urban League, NAACP and Delta Life Development Foundation Board.

In 2006, Forrest Park Baptist Church of Columbus honored Huff as a Local Living Legend. Other recent honors include Mother Mary Schools Success and Excellence Award (2005), the Mayors Commission on Diversity Distinguished Women Award (2004), a service award For Making Things Happen in the Community (2002) from Mt. Mariah Baptist Church of Phenix City, and a Community Service Award (2002) from the Columbus-Phenix City Club of the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Womens Club, Inc.

The daughter of Walter and Sally Lunsford, Huff holds a bachelors degree in management from Howard University and a masters degree in business administration from Atlanta University. She and her husband, Charles Huff Jr., have one daughter, Tamara Nichole, who is a student at the Medical College of Georgia.

Fore more information, call 706-568-2273.

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