Awards highlight distinguished service, leadership
The Elon Black Alumni Network honored five members of the Elon community during its annual celebration Oct. 17 as part of Homecoming weekend.
Kebbler McGhee Williams ’98, Dan Ridley ’93, Yasmine Alexandra Arrington ’15, Torrance Winder ’14 and Jean P. Rattigan-Rohr were honored Saturday evening with the 2015 Elon Black Alumni Network Awards for their service and leadership to Elon and their community.
The celebration, which was part of Homecoming activities, was the group’s signature event of the weekend. It featured remarks from President Leo M. Lambert, Renita Webb ’04, EBAN president, and Priscilla Awkard ’95, EBAN member.
The Elon Black Alumni Network is to build, maintain and sustain collaborative relationships with black alumni through social events, networking and philanthropic purposes impacting current and future Elon students.
The 2015 EBAN Award Recipients
Kebbler McGhee Williams ’98
Gail Fonville Parker ’70 Distinguished Alumni Award
While at Elon, Kebbler M. Williams was an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow, an Elon College Honors Fellow and a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. She also participated in the Elon Gospel Choir, the SMART Mentor Program and had several leadership roles in various campus organizations. When selected as a Youth Trustee at the end of her senior year in 1998, Williams became the first black female appointed to the Elon Board of Trustees. She is featured among other distinguished black alumni on the Elon Wall of Fame in the African American Resource Room. She was invited back to the Board of Trustees in 2008 as a full member, was elected secretary in 2014, serves as vice chair of the board’s academic affairs committee, is a member of the alumni affairs committee and is a new trustee mentor. She earned her Elon degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in school administration from North Carolina State University, where she was a NC Principal Fellow. She also holds a doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2010, she was honored as Elon’s Distinguished Alumna of the Year.
Eugene Perry ’69 Distinguished Alumni Award
Dan Ridley was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. While at Elon, Ridley ran track for four years, was a charter member of the Sigma Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and was the president of the Black Cultural Society. Ridley graduated in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a minor in history. After Elon, he returned to his hometown of Baltimore and has been an avid supporter of EBAN, the Phoenix Club and the Baltimore Alumni Chapter. Ridley began his teaching career as a special educator in the Baltimore City Public School System while pursuing his master’s degree at Coppin State College. This marks his 23rd year in education. He serves as IEP chair and department chair at Woodlawn Senior High School in the Baltimore County Public School System.
Yasmine Alexandra Arrington ’15
EBAN Distinguished Alumna Award
Yasmine A. Arrington was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She majored in strategic communications and history and earned her bachelor’s degree in 2015. Arrington is currently pursuing her Master of Divinity degree at Howard University. In 2010, while a junior in high school, Arrington founded the nonprofit ScholarCHIPS (www.scholarchipsfund.com), an organization that provides college scholarships and mentoring to graduating high school seniors who have a parent(s) in prison, and are pursuing their college degree. To date, ScholarCHIPS has awarded more than $50,000 in college scholarships to 23 scholars. Arrington is a poet, blogger, motivational speaker and plus-size model. She has been featured in TeenVogue, Essence, Black Enterprise and Forbes Magazine and multiple times on ABC7 News and in The Washington Post for her community work.
Torrance Winder ’14
EBAN Distinguished Alumnus Award
Torrance Winder earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in music at Elon in 2014. Upon graduating, he joined the Lutheran Volunteer Corps and served as a program associate for Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School in Washington, D.C. Volunteering allowed Winder the space to recognize his passion for fighting for social justice and advocating for the underrepresented black youth of America. He now serves as the college counseling associate and alumni relations coordinator at Thurgood Marshall Academy and encourages others to take a strength-based approach to dealing with the black youth of today. While at Elon, Winder was a part of Elon Gospel Choir, Praise Team, Limelight Records and is a 2012 initiate of the Sigma Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Jean P. Rattigan-Rohr
Dr. Wilhelmina Boyd Outstanding Service to Students Award
Jean P. Rattigan-Rohr is the faculty administrative fellow, assistant to the president of Elon University, director for the Center of Access and Success at Elon and associate professor in the School of Education. She is also the founder and director of Elon University’s “It Takes a Village” Project, which has expanded to include Music in the Village, Math in the Village, Science in the Village and Summer in the Village. The “It Takes a Village” Project is replicated at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Winston-Salem State University and Concordia University Portland and internationally at the East Queens Street Baptist Evening Institute, in Kingston, Jamaica. Additionally, she is an author, poet, playwright and actress. Her play, “Valued Voices,” which highlights the complex issues facing African-American boys in American High Schools, was featured in the 2011 North Carolina Black Theatre Festival.