Winston Salem, NC – It’s been said that legends are made, not born. On Aug. 26, legends made at North Carolina’s 11 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were honored.
The N.C. HBCU Living Legends Scholarship Gala Committee recognized 33 alumni from N.C.’s HBCUs as Living Legends at a gala held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Winston-Salem.
Among those honored were Livingstone College alumni Bishop George E. Battle Jr., senior bishop of the A.M.E. Zion Church and presiding prelate of the Piedmont Episcopal District, as well as chairman of the Livingstone College Board of Trustees; Dr. James Walter Ferree, a United Methodist minister; and Brigadier General Velma Richardson, retired from the U.S. Army.
Livingstone’s head men’s basketball coach, James Stinson, was also recognized as an alumnus of Barber-Scotia College.
“We are honoring 33 alumni who have transformed their educational experiences at their alma maters into personal milestones and open gateways for others,” said William and Vanessa Hairston, the organization’s founders.
For more than 152 years, the faculty, staff and administrators of N.C.’s HBCUs have “fought to keep the doors open through challenges and political shenanigans,” said Annette Scippio, who gave the occasion at the program. “We honor them tonight as Living Legends. They are examples of when life’s purpose matches up with their passion.”
Some facts were presented on HBCUs, including that these institutions contribute more than $10.2 billion to the nation’s economy and serve more than 40,000 students, yet their relevancy is questioned in this current political climate.
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Stinson has served as Livingstone’s men’s basketball coach since 2004. Under his leadership, the college has won two back-to-back CIAA basketball championships in 2014 and 2015, and boasted having the CIAA highest GPA for a men’s squad.
Battle, who was elected bishop in 1992, is a member of the Boy Scouts Advisory Board and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Board. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Hood Theological Seminary and on the Board of Directors for Carolinas Healthcare System.
Ferree retired in 1995 as a church administrator, but has remained active, having served as director of ethnic church development for the Western NC Conference of the United Methodist Church, and as pastor of Simpson-Gillespie Church in Charlotte. He served on the board of trustees for Lake Junaluska and Pfeiffer College. He received an honorary doctorate from High Point University.
Richardson retired from active duty in 2003. She is one of only 10 black women to have earned the rank of brigadier general on active duty in the United States, and was the senior African-American woman in the Army at her retirement.
She was also the 2005 recipient of the Doctor of Laws degree from Livingstone College and received the Livingstone College Presidential Meritorious Service Award in 2004. She has been inducted into the S.C. Black Hall of Fame in Columbia.
Each honoree received a medallion from the organization, and Livingstone College presented each of their honorees with an additional award.
Battle and Richardson were unable to attend the program. Jenkins accepted the award on behalf of Battle.
“It was a great evening in not only honoring Living Legends of HBCUs, but in also highlighting the importance of these institutions,” Jenkins said. “I am extremely proud of the achievements of Livingstone College’s Living Legends.”
Full list of Honorees, click here.
About Livingstone College
Livingstone College, founded and supported by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, is a private historically black institution located in Salisbury, N.C., secured by a strong commitment to quality instruction. Through a Christian-based environment suitable for learning, it provides excellent liberal arts and religious education programs for students from all ethnic backgrounds designed to develop their potential for leadership and service to a global community. For more information, visit www.livingstone.edu.