EBAN celebrates black excellence

Five members of the Elon community were honored Saturday for their contributions to their communities and support for the Elon Black Alumni Network.

As part of its Homecoming activities, the Elon Black Alumni Network held an awards celebration Nov. 4 in McKinnon Hall.

“Since 2010 we have honored over 30 alumni, faculty and staff with the EBAN awards for the extraordinary things they are doing in their local communities and for their dedication to the Elon Black Alumni Network,” said EBAN president Cameron Davis ’06. “Today we will add five more deserving individuals to this esteemed group.”

Established in 1996, EBAN’s purpose is to build, maintain and sustain collaborative relationships with black alumni through social events, networking and philanthropic purposes impacting current and future Elon students. 

During the event, recipients of the EBAN Scholarship and members of the Omicron Epsilon chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which is celebrating 30 years of service to the university and the Elon community, were also recognized. Since the EBAN Scholarship was established 10 years ago, six scholarships have been awarded to recipients with demonstrated high scholastic achievement and financial need.

Honored with the EBAN awards were:

Cherrel Miller Dyce
K. Wilhelmina Boyd Outstanding Service to Students Award

Cherrel Miller Dyce is an assistant professor of education and faculty fellow for The Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education at Elon University. A social justice advocate, K-20 pipeline researcher, mentor and social theorist, Miller Dyce believes in uplifting communities of color through education. She draws on her experiences as a social worker, working with families in communities of color. Miller Dyce emphasizes cultural competence, diversity, social justice and critical self-reflection in all research projects. She is the author of a co-edited book, “D.I.V.A. Diaries: The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured.” She has also authored publications focused on Black males, diversity, social justice, and race and education.

Based on mentoring work within the higher education community, Miller Dyce was awarded the 2012 Outstanding Mentor to Graduate Students Award from the American College Personnel Association, the nation’s leading national organization for the study of higher education and student affairs. She has also received the following awards: Faculty of the Year for Excellence in Research in the School of Education (May 2016); Black Faculty of the Year from the Black Student Union (April 2015); and Faculty of the Year Award in the African and African-American Studies Program (May 2014). 

Miller Dyce’s faith and her family are her grounding forces. She is married to a wonderful man and they have three children.

Sabrina Harris ’07
EBAN Distinguished Young Alumna Award

Sabrina Harris graduated from Elon University in 2007 with a degree in human services. After working as a clinical client manager for a health care company, she realized there was need in her community to establish assisted living facilities for aging adults with mental health issues. One year after graduation, she opened an adult care home for adults with schizophrenia. The facility consisted of six beds in Rockingham County, North Carolina. She also opened a group home for young men with autism.

Harris obtained a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from North Carolina A&T University in 2010 and a doctoral degree in rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counselor education in 2016. She sold her adult care home and group home business in 2010 and joined the Department of Veteran Affairs as a rehabilitation counselor, serving more than 200 veterans with service-connected disabilities and assisting 65 veterans with obtaining a college degree during her tenure there. She now serves as an assistant professor and Undergraduate Rehabilitation Services Program coordinator at Coppin State University in Maryland, where she is a member of the Faculty Senate and chair of the Exit Exam Committee for the Department of Applied Psychology and Rehabilitation Counseling. She also serves on the National Advisory Panel for Langston University’s Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Program, where she advises a team working with a $4.6 million grant to prepare minority faculty serving at minority serving institutions. 

A member of the Elon Black Alumni Network’s scholarship committee, when she is not serving her community, Harris enjoys paddle boarding, traveling with life-long Elon friends, being a pet-mother to Sassy and Seabreeze and planning her wedding.

​Blake Thompson ’13​
EBAN Distinguished Young Alumnus Award

Blake Thompson ’13 is the only son of Darryl and Edah Thompson. He and his two sisters, Kristah and Haley Thompson, grew up in Columbia, Maryland. In high school, he was a multi-sport athlete, traveled to Israel as a part of the Elijah Cummings Youth Program and graduated with a full football scholarship to attend Elon University.

A two-time captain, three-year starter, human service studies major and psychology minor at Elon, as well as a camp counselor at the local YMCA, Thompson was an advocate both on and off the field. When issues involving racial discrimination arose on campus, Thompson organized protests and events to bring awareness to such issues and make the Elon campus a safe space for students of color. Graduating in 2013, he continued his path toward racial equity, black pride and empowerment by joining Teach For America in Marion, Alabama. While teaching there for three years, he also coached the varsity baseball team, leading it to three playoff appearances, and the varsity football team, which made its first playoff appearance in more than 15 years.

Thompson lives and works in New Orleans as a founding teacher and head football coach at Livingston Collegiate Academies. He likes to call his world geography class a course on “global justice” because of the work he does to modify the curriculum, giving his first-year students an important practice in how to critically think about history and how it’s told.

Michael Rodgers ’97 (in absentia)
Eugene Perry ’69 Distinguished Alumnus Award

A native of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Michael Rodgers graduated from Elon in 1997 as an Honors Fellow with a double major in French and political science and a minor in economics. While at Elon, he was inducted into multiple honor societies including Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa. Rodgers was also an extremely active student involved in various aspects of campus life including service as president and secretary of the Student Government Association, New Student Orientation leadership team, admissions tour guide, Residence Life staff, cross country and football cheerleader.

After graduation Rodgers was selected as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar, which afforded him the opportunity to complete his graduate degree in international relations and European policy at l’Université de Liège in Belgium. He now serves as vice president, development and philanthropy at New York Road Runners, the nonprofit organization that produces the TCS New York City Marathon and more than 50 races every year. He oversees the development department, which raises funds to fulfill NYRR’s mission to help and inspire people through running. One of the department’s major fundraising vehicles is NYRR’s Team for Kids, which has more than 7,000 annual members who raise money for free running programs serving more than 267,000 kids in New York City and across the country. Additionally, he leads the team that manages the Official Charity Partner Program, which raises more than $40 million annually, for the TCS New York City Marathon and the United Airlines NYC Half.

Rodgers is an avid sports fan and a lifelong athlete who has completed 17 marathons, five Ironman triathlons and one ultramarathon.

Stacey Mahoney ’00 (in absentia)
Gail Fonville Parker ’70 Distinguished Alumna Award

Stacey Mahoney ’00 began her digital advertising career as a curious web coder in high school. She arrived at Elon in 1996 knowing what she wanted to do after graduation, even though it technically didn’t exist. A determined individual, Mahoney saw this as opportunity to create. With the support of her family, Elon faculty and mentors like professors Vicki Hightower, Linda Weavil and George Padgett, Mahoney was able to craft an independent studies program for a tailored curriculum in support of her career goal. While a student at Elon, she participated in diverse organizations across the campus which would fuel her in years to come. She graduated cum laude in 2000 as an Honors Fellow and Presidential Scholar.

The same determined, creative spirit that lead her through Elon is still with her today. Shortly after college, Mahoney taught web development to high school students in a program focused on the digital divide facing low-income youth. She formally started her professional digital career in 2001 as a content producer and online brand manager in the nonprofit sector. In 2005 she joined the advertising industry to work in a more innovative environment. During her ad agency career, Mahoney was best known for learning and testing new digital platforms, and turning the technologies into scalable, sellable products and solutions. In 2013 she joined Microsoft’s Bing Ads group as the manager of an award-winning U.S.-based sales team. Mahoney now works as a senior sales excellence lead in search sales operations at Microsoft.

Mahoney is passionate about organizations that focus on digital literacy and digital democracy for underserved communities. She serves on the 2017 Advisory Board for ADCOLOR, an organization focused on diversifying media, entertainment, advertising and tech, as a steering lead for Microsoft Advertising’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, and is the 2018 incoming communications chair of a global employee resource group at Microsoft. She is a passionate mentor, audiophile and traveler.