EBAN recognizes outstanding alumni, faculty

Sandra Reid ’85, Akilah Weaver ’00, Damon Ogburn ’07, Malik Daniels ’09 and Neima Abdulahi ’13 were honored during a Nov. 2 awards ceremony

The Elon Black Alumni Network honored the accomplishments of five members of the Elon community during a Nov. 2 awards ceremony part of the Homecoming & Reunion Weekend festivities.

Damon Ogburn ’07 received the Eugene Perry ’69 Distinguished Alumnus Award and Akilah Weaver ’00 received the Gail Fonville Parker ’70 Distinguished Alumna Award. Neima Abdulahi ’13 was honored with the EBAN Distinguished Young Alumna Award while the EBAN Distinguished Young Alumnus Award went to Malik Daniels ’09. Human service studies lecturer Sandra Reid ’85 received the K. Wilhelmina Boyd Outstanding Service to Students Award.

Also recognized during the ceremony, were National Pan-Hellenic Council groups celebrating reunions this year: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Sigma Mu Chapter – 35th reunion) and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (Alpha Beta Beta Chapter – 20th reunion).

The purpose of 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.

EBAN Award Recipients

Eugene Perry ’69 Distinguished Alumnus Award
Damon Ogburn ’07

A native of Cincinnati, Damon F. Ogburn ’07 graduated from Elon with a biology degree. As an Elon student, he served as honors chair in the Student Government Association, and was involved in various organizations including the S.M.A.R.T. program, Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa and the Sigma Delta Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. He was also a member of the inaugural class of Elon College Fellows.

In 2012, Damon received his master’s degree in public health-epidemiology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after conducting HIV vaccine research and development at Duke University’s Human Vaccine Institute. As a dual degree master’s/doctoral student, Damon worked at the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases while volunteering in Durham, North Carolina, where he educated minorities about HIV clinical trial opportunities.

In 2017, Damon received his doctorate degree in epidemiology at UNC Chapel Hill where he examined gaps along the HIV care continuum for persons living with HIV in North Carolina. In early 2019, his research was published in the AIDS and Behavior journal. Damon is an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where he oversees the National Electronic Health Records Survey. As a member of the Elon 1889 Society, Damon is committed to contributing to the development of Elon’s student experiences. He is an active homecoming attendee and provides insight to students, particularly Elon College Fellows and those interested in public health.

Damon has served on the Elon Black Alumni Network leadership board and volunteers with EBAN when possible.

Gail Fonville Parker ’70 Distinguished Alumna Award
Akilah Weaver ’00

Akilah L. Weaver ’00 graduated from Elon with a degree in business with a concentration in marketing and economics. While at Elon she was a Jefferson Pilot Business Fellow, and was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society. She was actively involved in S.M.A.R.T. program, the Black Cultural Society, Elon Volunteers! and the Elon Gospel Choir. She was the first black female president of the Student Government Association, in addition to holding several positions on the executive committee. Her desire to remain connected to the university continued even after graduation. She is a yearly supporter of the Elon Black Alumni Network Scholarship, a 1963 charter member of the Elon Black Alumni Network and has served on the Elon Alumni Board for the past five years.

Akilah continues serving her community as a Girl Scout troop leader for the Hornets Nest Girl Scout Council, a position she has held for 18 years. She is a member of the Black Political Caucus and the Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is also a recent breast cancer survivor and is dedicated to supporting women of color through their journey.

Akilah lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a senior benefits consultant with Bank of America. In that role, she is responsible for the design and implementation of employee benefit programs for more than 170,000 employees located in the U.S. When she’s not at work or serving the community, you can catch her at 19th Green Indoor Golf Center in Florence, South Carolina, which she and her dad own, or jet setting around the globe.

EBAN Distinguished Young Alumna Award
Neima Abdulahi ’13

Neima Abdulahi ’13 is an award-winning journalist at the NBC station in Atlanta. She was born in Somalia and grew up in the Atlanta area, where she graduated from Decatur High School.

Neima has been nominated twice for Emmy Awards for her work. Before working in Atlanta, she worked as a reporter for FOX46 in Charlotte where she received two RTDNAC awards. Neima specializes in producing cultural content that focus on providing in-depth coverage of Atlanta’s minority communities. Her morning show segment, “ATL Culture,” airs weekly and showcases the city’s vibrant cultural identity.

One of her proudest moments in her career is continuously covering the Atlanta Child Murders case with exclusive content about the investigation and family interviews. The Atlanta Child Murders was a killing spree that haunted the city of Atlanta between 1979 to 1981, when 29 African American children and young adults were murdered throughout the city. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a tearful one-on-one interview that because of Neima’s reports on the case, the city is now building a memorial to remember the 29 victims in an honorable way.

Neima got her start while working for Elon’s newscast, Elon Local News. During her time at Elon she started Limelight Records, a student-run record label that is still successful to this day. While in college, she also spent four consecutive summers with the Emma Bowen Foundation’s internship program. Through that program, she got her first newsroom experience learning from professionals in the industry.

EBAN Distinguished Young Alumnus Award
Malik Daniels ’09

Malik Daronce Daniels ’09 graduated from Elon with degrees in communication science and media studies. A former student-athlete, Malik was a member of the football team throughout his entire four years at Elon. He returned home to Cincinnati after graduation and instantly became a staple in his community. He coaches and mentors at-risk youth in football, teaching them fundamentals and preparing them for life. Malik accompanies these young men on college visits, always to Elon amongst other universities, often paying for the costs associated with the visits.

Malik began a now thriving community garden in one of Cincinnati’s low-income districts of Lincoln Heights. This community garden not only supports residents by providing them fresh produce, but patrons have gained additional skills in gardening, forging and self-preservation. Malik ran for and successfully won a seat to Lincoln Heights City Council. In that role, Malik brings attention to Cincinnati’s low- and moderate-income communities and has helped protect recreation centers and repair roads.

Malik is the co-founder of The Heights Movement – Community Engagement and Development Group, an organization focused on public health and wellness, academic success, community engagement and development to the Lincoln Heights community. Additionally, Malik serves as the community engagement director for Center for Closing the Health Gap, a nonprofit community-health grassroots organization committed to raising awareness about and eliminating racial and health disparities across Greater Cincinnati. Malik lives in Cincinnati with wife Adrienne Daniels and their two children.

K. Wilhelmina Boyd Outstanding Service to Students Award
Sandra Reid ’85

Sandra Reid ’85 graduated from Elon College with a double major in human services and psychology. Soon after graduation Sandra distinguished herself in her work in the North Carolina juvenile justice system and advanced quickly in the field as she was promoted from juvenile court counselor to chief court counselor in Alamance County to piedmont area administrator. In the latter role she supervised 10 judicial district court programs in central North Carolina and had more than 200 employees under her supervision.

When Sandra joined the Elon faculty in 2006, her leadership in North Carolina’s juvenile justice system did not end but simply shifted to that of consultant. Some highlights of her ongoing juvenile justice work include serving as chairperson of the N.C. Juvenile Justice Planning Committee (and as a member of the very critical Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee). Sandra also served on the governor’s Crime Commission and the Governor’s Youth Accountability Task Force.

Over the past decade she has served on numerous panels, presenting at conferences across the country on matters related to the disproportionate representation of minority children and youth in the juvenile justice system. At Elon, Sandra is a well-known champion for human rights, social justice and diversity education on campus. She teaches in the Elon Academy, supports Watson and Odyssey Scholars and participates in service learning. She has led study abroad courses and created Elon’s first course on the Black Family and the first foundational course on Black Studies for African & African American Studies.

She also served on Elon’s National Alumni Executive Board for five years, serving as president of the African American Alumni Group for two of those years, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.