The 27th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception held recently at the downtown Hyatt Regency attracted thousands as some 13 persons were inducted. The attendees and honorees all heard the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and why alumni must support these schools.
Thomas W. Dortch, founder and chairman of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., said alumni should never forget the role HBCUs play in their lives and out of 235 HBCUs in the 30s, there are only 105 today. Dortch urged financial support for these schools and challenged parents “to send their children to these schools.”
John Eaves, Chair of the Fulton County Commission and Willie A. Deese, executive Vice President & President of Merck Manufacturing Division, for Merck & Co., both challenged parents to educate young people to make a difference globally and thanked Dortch for his vision. Other sponsors were Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, Wells Fargo, where representatives agreed that the nearly full house was “proof that you support education and have a commitment to education.”
Inductees were: Floyd Gordon, for the Arts, graduate of Chaflin University; T’Keyah Crystal Keymah,, for Entertainment, Florida A&M University; John Funny, for Business, Southern Carolina State University; Ralph D. Abernathy (posthumously) for Civil Rights, Alabama State University; Harry E. Johnson Sr., for Community Service, a graduate of Texas Southern University; Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III, for Education, Hampton University; Rev. Dr. Frederick Haynes II, in Faith and Theology, Bishop College; the Hon. W. Troy Massey for Government and Law, Alabama A&M University; Kevin W. Williams, for Industry, Tennessee State University; Dr. Ophelia E. Garmon-Brown in Medicine, North Carolina Central University; Jesse E. Russell for Science, Tennessee University; Dr. Velma Speight-Buford, Lifetime Achievement, North Carolina AT State Univ., and Dr. Arthur E. Thomas, Lifetime Achievement, a graduate of Central State University.
The honorees all wanted HBCUs to thrive and become schools of excellence. They said they owed a lot to these schools, as they were all products of HBCUs. The occasion was held Friday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m.
The occasion marked a weekend of events that raised money for the HBCUs.