Michael Long ’04 inspires students at Black Excellence Awards
The deputy director of member services for U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi was the featured speaker at the annual program honoring top black students at Elon.
Elon alumnus Michael Long brought a Washington perspective to the 21st annual Phillips-Perry Black Excellence Awards on April 26. Long told students and their families that we live in a schizophrenic society and unprecedented times, and he said that means opportunity for students.
“Be where you are right now and embrace it,” Long said. “The grass is greener where you are standing (at Elon). Prepare yourself for the world and don’t waste your time not doing it.”
Long is the deputy director of member services for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the current Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. He began working for Pelosi as a special assistant in February 2007, when Pelosi served as Speaker of the House. Since then, Long has worked closely with Pelosi, especially helping to enhance her outreach to the congressional Black Caucus and the African-American community.
Long encouraged students to “study abroad, become a leader, volunteer and stand out from the pack.” He said the lessons he learned at Elon – respect and common courtesy and the ability to meet people – have helped him succeed in his work. “I’ve traveled to 34 states, 15 countries, 2 territories and I’m still traveling – and I’ve never met a stranger,” Long said. He credited Elon with teaching him to follow his passion and not “chase a paycheck.”
This year’s award ceremony included special tributes to Glenda Phillips, Elon’s first black student, and Eugene Perry, the first black graduate. Both were in attendance and the subject of special video presentation. Jasmine Turner ’15 called Perry and Phillips heroes for their trailblazing courage.
“Thank you for inspiring us to dream more, learn more and do more,” Turner said. Phillips and Perry were moved to tears when Turner was joined by Manuela Mbouma ’14 and Deanna Fox ’13 in singing the song “Gravity” in their honor.
President Leo M. Lambert detailed progress the university is making on its strategic plan goals related to diversity and global engagement. “There is a lot of progress underway and a lot more to be done,” Lambert said. He told students who were honored for academic excellence that he is proud of their accomplishments.
Undergraduate students honored at the banquet had a fall 2013 semester grade point average of 3.2 or higher, or had a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher.
Chann Little '17 of Belmont, N.C., was named the recipient of the Elon Black Alumni Scholarship Award.
Special honors went to the following students with the highest GPAs:
BreAna A. Brown - Freshman Female
Jordan A. Palmer - Freshman Male
Emily C. Roper - Sophomore Female
Douglas P. Spencer - Sophomore Male
Krystal K. Lanclos - Junior Female
Tony Weaver - Junior Male
Nana Mensah - Senior Female
Kevin D. Moore - Senior Male
Zora Stephenson - Female Athlete
Egheosa Edomwonyi - Male Athlete