Outstanding Elon students were recognized for their achievements and contributions to Elon on April 22.
Outstanding students, distinguished faculty, and staff members were recognized on April 22 at the 30th annual Phillips-Perry Black Excellence Awards.
The ceremony included opening remarks from President Connie Ledoux Book, introduced by Simone Royal ‘17, assistant director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity & Diversity Education.
Several Elon black alumni were among those presenting awards, including Deborah Blackwell ’87, Brianna Nobles’21, and La’Tonya Wiley ’97. Keshia Wall, assistant professor of dance and program coordinator for African and African American studies, presented the African & African American Studies at Elon Award to Dani Tomi-Harrold and Shannon Seignious. Alex Bohannon ’17 presented Ethan Lane-Blake with the Elon Black Alumni Network Scholarship Award. The ceremony also included vocal performances by Zeth Dixon ’24 and Anne Sophie Hill ’24, students within Elon’s Music Theatre program. The ceremony concluded with a charge to students by Kiara Hunter ‘23.
Established in 1993, the mission of the Black Excellence Awards Banquet is to
recognize, celebrate and affirm the presence of Black students at Elon University. Approved by the Elon University Board of Trustees, the annual Black Excellence Awards Banquet 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).
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 2026 (five-way tie): Christian Atwater, Kaia Brown, Evelyn Ealey, Niara Legette, Logan Scott
- Class of 2025: Donelle Leak
- Class of 2024: Maya Simmons
- Class of 2023 (two-way tie): Jay Blue, Dani Toma-Harrold
Janice Ratliff Community Service Award
The Janice Ratliff Community Service Award is named in honor of Janice Ratliff, a former advisor of the Black Student Union, a long-time employee of Elon University, and well-known advocate and community figure for the university’s Black students, faculty, and staff. This award goes to a staff member that the Black student body recognizes as an advocate for the Black student experience, whose contributions to the community, whether big or small, always substantially impact the Black community on multiple levels.
Janice Ratliff Community Service Award Recipient
- Simone Royal ‘17
Wilhelmina Boyd Community Service Award
The Wilhelmina Boyd Community Service Award is named in honor of the late Wilhelmina Boyd was an Associate Professor of English and the founder of Elon University’s minor in African and African American Studies. This award goes to a faculty member that the Black student body recognizes as an advocate for the Black student experience and a champion of equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout the curriculum.
Wilhelmina Boyd Community Service Award Recipient
- Buffie Longmire-Avital
Phoenix Award (GPA 3.8 – 4.0)
Anne Sophie Hill
Gold Award (GPA 3.5-3.79)
Fabienne van Rijssen
Maroon Award (GPA 3.2-3.49)
Elon Experiences Awards
These students were nominated by faculty and staff members of Elon University as students who excelled in one or more of the five Elon Experiences: Global Engagement, Undergraduate Research, Internships, Service and Civic Engagement, and Leadership.
Excellence in Global Engagement
- Keiarra Bray
Excellence in Undergraduate Research
- Ainsley Shan
Excellence in Internships
- Victory Moore
Excellence in Academic Service Learning
- Chandler McKelvey
Excellence in Leadership
- Christina Carr
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 award recipient 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 Recipient
- Dani Tomi-Harrold and Shannon Seignious
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, partially funding the educational endeavors of five deserving Black students at Elon University.
Elon Black Alumni Network Scholarship Recipient
- Ethan Lane-Blake
Graduate and Professional Student Awards
This award recognizes a Black/African American student who has excelled in academic excellence and possesses the highest-class GPA.
School of Law
- Melo Augustine – (1L)
- Timberly Southerland – (2L)
Doctor of Physical Therapy
- 3rd year: Jordan Waite
- 2nd year: Alicia Wilson
- 1st year: Raya Coley & Jazmyne Davis
Master’s in Higher Education
- Stephen Gyan
- Marie-Clare Ofoegbu
Master’s in Business Administration
- Babatunde Opaleye
Master’s in Business Analytics
- Chelsea Wallace
- Shaina Catchings
Master’s in Education
- Corey Waters
This award recognizes a Black/African American student with exceptional leadership qualities demonstrated through sustained and progressive involvement and participation in university or community organizations. The student has shown the ability to lead, influence, and guide other individuals and/or organizations.
Leadership Award Recipient
- Zac Ormond
This award recognizes a Black/African American student who has demonstrated a sustained commitment in one or more of these community engagement forms beyond Elon’s campus: volunteer service, political engagement, social action and activism, or advocacy—the student who has shown exceptional passion and commitment towards helping others.
Service Award Recipient
- Alicia Wilson
The Phillips-Perry Black Excellence Awards Celebration is presented by Elon’s Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education (CREDE). The planning committee includes:
- Michelle Dawson, Director of Presidential Events
- Anita Hodnett, Director of Counseling Services
- Robert Johnson, Director of Event and Space Management
- Laké Laosebikan-Buggs, Director of Inclusive Excellence for Graduate and Professional Education
- Buffie Longmire-Avital, Director of the Black Lumen Project and Professor of Psychology
- Simone Royal, Assistant Director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education
- Marilyn Slade, Program Assistant of the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education
- La’Tonya Wiley, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement
- Michael Williams, Director of Moseley Student Center
The 2021 Elon Experiences Awards Committee includes:
- Olivia Brown, Assistant Director of the Center for Leadership
- Bill Burress, Director of Semester and Exchange Programs
- Bob Frigo, Assistant Dean of Campus Life and Director of the Kernolde Center of Civic Leadership
- Eric Hall, Director of Undergraduate Research
- Robin Kazmarek, Director of Internships