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The Lawrence M. Clark University Community Dinner Begins New NC State Tradition

By Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy

At a gathering enriched by members of three university communities and members of the communities they serve, the African American Cultural Center presented the inaugural Lawrence M. Clark University Community Dinner on March 21, 2013 at McKimmon Center. The celebration linked NC State University, Saint Augustine's University and Shaw University to celebrate student academic excellence, faculty excellence, and humanitarian achievement. The AACC welcomed over 350 guests as the center revised and revived the tradition of the "Brotherhood Dinner" (1982-2009), which was established by Dr. Lawrence M. Clark to "reaffirm, as a University and a community, our deep commitment to enhancing an environment where people of diverse backgrounds may come to study and work together, realizing their full potential."

Photo of Chancellor at Clark University Community Dinner with Mrs. Clark and guest

The event began with a reception followed by dinner. The Downtown String Ensemble provided music, playing both classical and jazz standards. Chancellor Randy Woodson welcomed the participants, emphasizing the importance of 'town and gown' relationships and our renewed commitment to these values. Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy, Director of the African American Cultural Center, discussed the history of the event and the new vision. She also recognized members of the Clark family. Provost Warwick Arden presented student excellence awards and $500 scholarships to six students, two from each university. Provost Arden was assisted by Ms. Evelyn Leathers, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Shaw University, to present the scholarship award to Shaw students Brandon Banks (Psychology) and Danielle Green (Mass Communications); Dr. Roland Bullard, Vice President of Student Development, to present scholarship awards to Saint Augustine's students Niaya A. Patterson (Psychology) and John R. Hargrave (Liberal Studies); and Mr. Darryl K. Lester, Assistant Director of the NC State African American Cultural Center, to present scholarship awards to NC State students Diamond Jones (Elementary Education) and Obed Agyei (Human Biology).

Clark Dinner speakers with Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy

Provost Arden also presented the first Lawrence M. Clark faculty excellence award to Dr. James Kiwanuka-Tondo, Associate Professor in the Department of Communications, who was recognized for continuing Dr. Clark's commitment to international engagement and engaged research.

The evening culminated with Chancellor Woodson's presentation of the Benjamin E. Mays Awards, which were established by Dr. Clark in 1982 to highlight the "important contributions that African Americans have made and continue to make by identifying an African American... who has made contributions to America, not only as a scholar, but as a humanitarian." Chancellor Woodson was joined by Dr. Carol Love, Assistant Dean Emeritus, College of Natural Resources, and Dr. Kwesi Brookins, Associate Professor of Psychology and Africana Studies, to present the award to two honorees: Margaret Rose Murray, a Raleigh activist, community organizer, and educator, and Charlotte O'Neal, a humanitarian, artist, and activist recognized for her achievements in the U.S. and Tanzania.