Outstanding Elon students, along with distinguished faculty and staff, were recognized for their achievements and contributions to Elon during a virtual version of the campus tradition on Saturday, April 24.
Outstanding students along with distinguished faculty and staff members were recognized Saturday, April 24, at the 28th annual Phillips-Perry Black Excellence Awards.
Held virtually again this year due to the pandemic, the celebration carried forward the tradition of recognizing the achievements and affirming the presence of Black students at Elon. Approved by the Elon University Board of Trustees, the annual Black Excellence Awards celebration was named on April 22, 2006, to honor former Elon students Glenda Phillips Hightower, the first Black student to attend Elon (in 1963), and Eugene Perry, the first Black student to graduate from Elon (in 1969).
John Robinson-Miller, assistant director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education (CREDE), offered a welcome, noting that before honoring current Elon students, we should also honor the ancestors and elders that have come before us and whose labor and guidance have paved the way.
Tyrone Jean, assistant dean of students and director of the CREDE, noted that this year, the university is honoring 243 Black students who have earned a GPA of 3.2 or higher, which is about two-thirds of all Black undergraduate students at Elon.
“Over the years the Phillips-Perry Black Excellence program has grown in both its standards for excellence as well as its participants,” Jean said. “In addition to hearing about students’ high academic achievements, we will celebrate great accomplishments in the Elon experiences, scholarship, and athletics. …We are so proud of all of our awardees and I hope you join me in congratulating all of them.”
In her remarks, President Connie Ledoux Book said she was thankful that members of the university community could come together virtually to celebrate student achievement. “We have had quite a year, with many challenges and, so right now, I want you to pause, take a deep breath and recognize that you have persevered,” Book said. “Against all the hardships and loss, you are here, celebrating Black student achievement at Elon. Reflect on all of your accomplishments and on all the ways in which you have grown this year, giving thanks to all who have stood beside you and supported you along the way — your family, your friends, and your mentors.”
The celebration included musical performances by the a capella group Melanated Melodies and by Jahmai Bruce ’23.
Academic Excellence Awards
Students enrolled at Elon University as full-time undergraduate students with a minimum of 12 semester hours of academic course work and a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher during the Fall Semester are eligible for this award.
Highest GPA by Class
- Class of 2024 (five-way tie): Zeth Dixon, Kara McKinley, Amaya Sheffield, Maya Simmons, Naomi Washington
- Class of 2023 (two-way tie): Jay Blue and Dani Toma-Harrold
- Class of 2022: Mikayla Ford
- Class of 2021: Briana Brewington
Phoenix Group Awardees (3.8-4.0)
Anne Sophie Hill
Gold Group Awardees (3.5-3.79)
Fabienne van Rijssen
Maroon Group Awardees (3.2-3.49)
Queen Assata Stephens
Shai Bey Superville
Valerie Stewart Rugbart
Elon Experiences Awards
These students were nominated by faculty and staff members of Elon University as students who excelled in on or more of the five Elon Experiences: Global Engagement, Undergraduate Research, Internships, Service and Civic Engagement, and Leadership.
Excellence in Global Engagement
- Rebecca Collins
Excellence in Undergraduate Research
- Mikaela Benton and Chandler Vaughan
Excellence in Internships
- Felicia Robinson
Excellence in Service and Civic Engagement
- Shalexzandra Dunkley
Excellence in Leadership
- Kamal Lado
The Wilhelmina Boyd African & African American Studies at Elon Award
The Wilhelmina Boyd AAASE Scholar Award was created in the Spring of 2008 to honor the work and contributions of Professor Wilhelmina Boyd’s 18 years of service to Elon University and African & African-American Studies. The recipient of the award must be a graduating senior with a minor in African & African-American Studies, with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and a minimum GPA in the minor of 3.2. In addition, the recipient must demonstrate a commitment to African & African-American Studies as demonstrated through coursework, citizenship/community engagement, scholarship, and student activities/leadership.
Wilhelmina Boyd AAASE Scholar Award
- Jewel Tillman
Top Black Male Student-Athlete
- Destin Flloyd, Football
Top Black Female Student-Athlete
- Samantha Dominguez, Women’s Soccer
Elon Black Alumni Network Scholarship Award
The Elon Black Alumni Network (EBAN) strives to unite and represent the interests of Elon University’s Black alumni and students and promote active participation of its members. EBAN also seeks to promote the Black presence on campus and sustain the general alumni contributions to the university. Intended to help make an Elon education available to Black students, EBAN established a scholarship fund in 2007. To date, alumni and friends have donated more than $250,000 to the EBAN scholarship, which has partially funded the educational endeavors of five deserving Black students at Elon University.
Elon Black Alumni Network Scholarship Recipient
- Makayla Oby
Black Student Union Awards
Wilhelmina Boyd Community Service Award
- Stephanie Baker, Assistant Professor of Public Health Studies
Janice Ratliff Community Service Award
- Randy Williams, Vice President and Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Associate Professor of Education
The Phillips-Perry Black Excellence Awards Celebration is presented by Elon’s Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education (CREDE). The planning committee includes:
- Akilah Weaver, Elon Black Alumni Network PresidentAnita Hodnett, director, Counseling Services
- Barb Carlton, assistant director, Moseley Center
- Buffie Longmire-Avital, associate professor of psychology and coordinator of the African and African American Studies at Elon (AAASE)
- Carolyn Ent, director of events, Office of the President
- Cayce Crenshaw, Director for Academic Support Services and Assistant Athletics Director
- Deidra Smith, director, Alumni Engagement
- John Robinson-Miller IV, Assistant Director, Center for Race, Ethnicity, & Diversity Education
- Julian Valderrama, Junior & CREDE Student Coordinator (Black Student Success)
- Marilyn Slade, program assistant, CREDE
- Michael Williams, director, Moseley Center
- Robert Johnson, director, Event and Space Management
- Ted Moree Video Producer, Teaching and Learning Technologies
- Tyrone Jean, assistant dean of students and director, CREDE
The 2021 Elon Experiences Awards Committee includes:
- Bob Frigo, associate director, Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement
- Melanie Bullock, director of the Center for Leadership
- Meredith Allison, professor of psychology and director of undergraduate research
- Mikayla Jones, Global Engagement Advisor, Isabella Cannon Global Education Center
- Robin Kazmarek, Director of Internships, Elon College, The College of Arts and Sciences