At an awards ceremony during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, five members of the Elon community were honored for their dedication and service.
Five outstanding individuals were honored by the Elon Black Alumni Network on Saturday morning for their service and dedication to the university and the Black community at a ceremony in Snow Family Atrium.
The Nov. 5 awards event as part of Homecoming & Reunion Weekend honored The Rev. Dr. Marvin L. Morgan ’71 P ’96 P ’09, Joyel Crawford ’97, Carl Hairston ’11 G ’15, Shelby McKay ’13 and Professor Buffie Longmire-Avital.
“Since 2010, we have honored over 40 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 Akilah Weaver ’00 during her opening remarks. “Today, we add five more deserving individuals to this esteemed group.”
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.
Dr. K. Wilhelmina Boyd Outstanding Service to Students Award
Buffie Longmire-Avital is a diversity, inclusion, and racial health equity scholar-educator. In 2022 she became the first African American to be promoted to full professor in Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to being a professor of psychology, she is the inaugural director of the Black Lumen Project, an equity initiative, and the presidentially appointed Faculty Administrative Fellow for Mentoring Design. She currently co-leads a 35-person team charged with building a dynamic and sustainable ecosystem for mentoring across the university. Longmire-Avital previously served as the coordinator of the African and African-American Studies interdisciplinary minor program for six years. AAASE, as it is known on campus, was established in 1994 under the leadership of Professor K. Wilhelmina Boyd, for whom this award is named. It is one of the oldest interdisciplinary minors at the institution.
Longmire-Avital received a doctorate in applied developmental psychology from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She has published numerous articles; serves on the editorial boards of multiple academic journals; has been recognized for excellence in mentorship as well as for her leadership service for Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences; she is also a former recipient of the prestigious National Institutes of Health, Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities. As a board member of multiple social justice nonprofits, her aim is to always serve her university and broader communities with distinction in efforts to build sustainable inclusive spaces.
As a Center for Engaged Learning scholar (2018-20), Longmire-Avital developed a reparative mentoring model to generate and sustain critically conscious, equitable approaches that support underserved students’ engagement in high-impact practices. Known to her students as “Dr. LA,” she is regarded as a trusted resource, mentor and advocate. Longmire-Avital is engaged with EBAN aiding in the production of the Donning of the Kente Ceremony, a rite of passage graduation event for Elon’s African-American students. She continues to be a member of the planning committee and has had the honor of delivering closing remarks for all the ceremonies.
Shelby McKay ’13
EBAN Distinguished Young Alumna Award
After completing her studies at Elon University, Shelby McKay has gone on to pursue both a master of arts and a doctorate from George Washington University. Passionately committed to positively impacting the lives of collegiate student-athletes, McKay ensures “life after sport” remains a key focus so that student-athletes position themselves for successful professional careers. She also serves as a mentor and champion not only for student-athletes but for other women seeking to advance their careers in athletics.
Ever the engaged alumna, she currently serves on the Elon School of Communications advisory board and is an Elon in D.C. board member. In October of this year, McKay stepped into the role of associate commissioner of Student-Athlete & Institutional Program with the Athletic Coast Conference.
Carl Hairston ’11 G’15
EBAN Distinguished Young Alumnus Award
Carl Hairston graduated from Elon University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an emphasis in sales, and in 2015 with his master’s degree in business administration. During his time at Elon, he was involved with the Black Cultural Society, Business Fellows, Professional Sales Team and a member of the Sigma Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Since December of 2021, Hairston’s talents have shined at the Atlantic Coast Conference where he serves as the director of brand marketing.
Hairston currently sits on the executive board of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators. He graduated from the prestigious NCAA Leadership Institute in 2016. He is an active member of the Kappa Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc., and serves on the Elon University Young Alumni Council, the Hayes-Taylor YMCA Board and the Exposure Project Fundraising Committee.
The Rev. Dr. Marvin L. Morgan ’71 P’96 P’09
Eugene Perry ’69 Distinguished Alumnus Award
A native of Zebulon, North Carolina, the Rev. Dr. Marvin Morgan was born the third-youngest of nine children to a sharecropping family. Receiving the highest score in math/algebra out of his senior class at James E. Shepard High School earned him employment with IBM just before graduation in 1966. A year later, after acknowledging a “call to ministry,” a national United Church of Christ officer advised Morgan that the President of Elon College wanted to further diversify the student body.
After reviewing his transcript, then-Elon President J. Earl Danieley affirmed, “Marvin, you are the student we’ve been looking for (high academic performer and minority). If you will come to join our student body in January, we will make certain you never have to drop out because of finances.” Morgan credits this moment with transforming his life and the life of his family. He finished Elon with a degree in religion and with enough credits for a philosophy major. This would be the beginning of an ongoing legacy. Of his four children, three attended Elon and his grandson is now a junior at Elon.
Morgan has served on the Elon University Board of Trustees since 2008 and is a member of the Campus Life and Alumni committees. As a member of the special subcommittee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, he has advocated on behalf of all minority students, prospective minority students and others who may be underrepresented within the Elon campus environment. He and his wife, Mae T. Morgan, M.D., have supported the Black Alumni Scholarship nearly every year since its inception.
Morgan is now serving as interim pastor at the Church of the Red Rocks in Sedona, Arizona. As a member of the faculty of the Center for Congregational Health in Winston-Salem, he also teaches interim ministry courses to clergy primarily in the U.S. and Canada.
Joyel Crawford ’97
Gail Fonville Parker ’70 Distinguished Alumna Award
After graduating cum laude from Elon University in 1997 as an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow, Joyel Crawford obtained her MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a concentration in management. For 18 years, she supported professionals within all functional groups at Verizon Wireless.
Crawford launched out on her own and developed Crawford Leadership Strategies, an award-winning consultancy that provides leadership consulting, keynotes and hybrid solutions to provide organizations with the tools, knowledge and skills to thrive in the global workplace. As a certified professional career coach, certified virtual presenter, TEDx speaker and leadership development consultant at Crawford Leadership Strategies, she helps others expertly navigate every step of their career.
Crawford has facilitated leadership development courses and has been a keynote speaker for businesses and organizations such as the U.S. Senate, NASA JPL, The New York Times, ESPN, Intuit, NYC Mayor’s Office, Morgan Stanley, Hewlett Packard, Aramark, various chapters of SHRM, NJACP, SHFM and many other notable industries, organizations and higher education institutions. She hosts a podcast called “Career View Mirror®” and is the author of the Amazon bestselling book “Show Your Ask: Using Your Voice to Advocate for Yourself and Your Career,” which was ranked #1 in New Releases.
Also recognized during the event were members of the Omicron Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which was celebrating its 35th reunion.