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GALLERY: 2017 Ultimate Homecoming Experience Energizes Eagle Pride With More Than $2 Million


Durham, NCNorth Carolina Central University students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends gathered from Oct. 22-28 to celebrate the 2017 Ultimate Homecoming Experience.

“Extraordinary demonstrations of Eagle Pride were evident throughout Homecoming 2017, with thousands of alumni returning to reconnect with friends, establish new friendships and serve as an inspirational model for our current students,” said NCCU Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye. “I want to offer a special thanks to all our alumni who give back generously to the university whether it be financial support, mentoring, as an ambassador or Eagle Athletics fan, and in many other ways.”

Alumni supported the university through their contributions, with more than $2 million raised during the festivities. The Class of 1977 raised $1,100,938, which included a $1 million gift from NCCU Board of Trustees Chairman George R. Hamilton and his wife, Jill Hamilton. In addition, the Class of 1967 raised $247,351 in support of the university.  Members of the Society of Golden Eagles, comprised of classes 1937 through 1966, contributed $473,428. Separately, a $200,000 gift in the form of a charitable remainder unitrust was given by NCCU Alumnus Audwin Helton ‘81 and his wife, Rae Helton ‘81.

“Our loyal alumni, as usual, provided an impressive show of love and dedication to their alma mater through their reunion gifts,” said Dr. Harriet F. Davis, vice chancellor for the NCCU Division of Institutional Advancement. “I want to thank each one of them for their support at Homecoming, as well as the ongoing support they provide. In many cases, it is their assistance that allows our students to focus on completing their education.”

Continuing to increase the university’s endowment, members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council participated in giving by establishing endowed scholarships for their respective originations. Former members of the Gamma Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the Alpha Chi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. established endowed scholarships in the names of their respective Greek organizations. They joined former members of Tau Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and Alpha Lambda Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. who created endowed scholarships.

Furthermore, more than 400 donors attended the inaugural Chancellor’s Donor Reception on Friday, Oct. 27. Ten graduating classes – those ending in 2s and 7s – presented class gifts. Members of the Shepard Society, individuals who give more than $1,000 annually to the university, were also in attendance.

Campus events, class reunions, concerts featuring major recording artists and Eagle Pride were also a part of the celebration. This year’s Homecoming activities began on Oct. 22 with the Homecoming Worship Service Homecoming Soul Food Dinner, followed by the Homecoming Gospel Concert featuring Grammy Award-winning gospel recording artists Fred Hammond, Le’Andria Johnson, Todd Galberth and comedian Not Karlton Banks.

The university also celebrated by carrying out community-service activities. Students, faculty, staff and alumni participated in the Eagle Habitat Walkathon, a family-oriented walk to support the mission of Habitat for Humanity and its student chapter at NCCU. The event raised nearly $3,000 and showcased homes in Eagle Village, where NCCU is building its sixth Habitat for Humanity house. The NCCU family also spent a morning reading to three local elementary schools including C.C. Spaulding Elementary, R.N. Harris Elementary and Fayetteville Street Elementary.

Participants experienced “Midnight in Paris” at the annual Mister and Miss NCCU Coronation and Ball, where the 75th Miss NCCU, Ashanti Modlin, a senior public health education major from Livingston, N.J., and 15th Mr. NCCU, Nicholas Hedgpeth, a senior business administration major from Rocky Mount, N.C. were crowned on Oct. 25.

On Thursday, Oct. 26, the Corporate Partners reception was hosted and sponsored, in part, by the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center to honor the university’s corporate donors. The celebration continued on Friday, Oct. 27 at the 70th annual Founder’s Day Convocation, which recognized the life and contributions of NCCU founder Dr. James E. Shepard. As part of the Founder’s Day observance, 116 members of the Class of 1967 were inducted into the Society of Golden Eagles.

Isaiah Tidwell, class of 1967 president, retired executive vice president for Wachovia Bank and a member of the NCCU Board of Trustees, provided remarks during the event, reflecting on his time as an NCCU undergraduate, as well as founder Shepard’s contributions to the greater community and his significance to the university.

Also on Friday, the Gamma Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and Theta Pi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. were named the winners of the Ultimate Face-off Greek Step Show. Show participants included members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Council of Independent Organizations.

Later that evening, R&B artist Gladys Knight and saxophonist Marcus Anderson took the stage for the sold-out Alumni Scholarship Concert on Friday, Oct. 27.

“Welcoming alumni to campus this year delivered a burst of positive energy that made Homecoming 2017 one of our most exciting so far,” said LaMisa McCoy Foxx, interim associate vice chancellor for the Office of Alumni Relations. “With classes in reunion ranging from five years to 50 years or more, our alumni came back and reconnected with their alma mater. Individually and collectively, their talents and accomplishment as Eagles are impressive.”

The weekend concluded with the annual Homecoming Parade with nearly 90 participants followed by a sold-out Homecoming football game where the Eagles defeated the Delaware State University Hornets with a 42-14 win. Also on Saturday, students and alumni enjoyed a nearly sold-out Homecoming Hip-Hop Concert featuring artists Boosie, Tee Grizzley and H.E.R. in McDougald-McLendon Arena and the Grand Finale featuring Doug E. Fresh and Friends Live at the Sheraton.

North Carolina Central University prepares students to succeed in the global marketplace. Consistently ranked as a top Historically Black College or University, NCCU offers flagship programs in the sciences, education, law, business, nursing and the arts. Founded in 1910, NCCU remains committed to diversity in and access to higher education. Our alumni excel in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. Visit

Highlights: (Photos: Lawrence Davis)

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