Alumni in the News


Matthew and Roberta Jenkins: 30 Years of Philanthropy

Emphasis on hard work, discipline, and goal-setting remains strong for Matthew and his wife Roberta. Through their leadership and philanthropy, they have proudly served as two of Claremont Graduate University’s (CGU) strongest supporters for nearly 30 years. After receiving a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine in 1957, Jenkins conducted research and established and discovered the presence of the disease rabies. He established a rabies eradication program in Greenland while serving in the US Air Force. He established a successful veterinary practice in California and sold it in the late 1970s to pursue other career interests such as the import-export business and banking.

He and Roberta, who he met at Tuskegee University, also created a successful real estate and property management company. Jenkins is currently in the third phase of his career: university philanthropy. Matthew and Roberta Jenkins have been supporting education for decades. They established the Matthew and Roberta Jenkins Family Foundation in 1984, which provides scholarships for African American students across the country, including those at CGU.

In the 1980s, then-CGU President John D. Maguire, a civil rights activist and former colleague of Martin Luther King, Jr., approached Jenkins and asked him to serve on the board of trustees. He ended up serving on the board from 1989 to 2006. Starting in 1995, Roberta Jenkins served on the School of Educational Studies’ (SES) Board of Advisors for 20 years. 

The Jenkins also provided funds to launch the Claremont Long Beach Math Collaborative, a partnership between CGU, Harvey Mudd College, and the Long Beach Unified School District to provide math education for underserved communities, especially African American high school students, and prepare them for the future. They remain involved in the collaborative, serving as speakers, recruiting African American leaders to serve as role models, and encouraging community members to contribute. The Jenkinses also created a charitable trust that provides fellowship support to African American students enrolled in doctoral and master’s programs at CGU’s Drucker-Ito School of Management. Drucker’s Jenkins Courtyard is named for them. 
Article source: The Flame: Claremont Graduate University, July 5, 2016,  Click here to read more.

Alum, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University, appointed to Zoetis Board of Directors

Tuskegee Alumnus Willie Reed has been appointed to the Zoetis Board of Directors. Already the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University, Dr. Reed will serve on the Corporate Governance Committee of the Board. 

Dr. Reed has more than 30 years of experience in animal health and veterinary medicine, gained during his tenure at Purdue University and Michigan State University, and as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and Charter Diplomate of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.

As a recognized expert in avian pathology, diagnostic medicine and infectious diseases, Dr. Reed brings perspectives on veterinary medicine that will be crucial at Zoetis. He will also add valuable scientific expertise to the Zoetis Board, as well as a unique understanding of the needs of Zoetis customers and the animals that depend on the company's medicines and vaccines. This will be crucial as Zoetis continues to enhance its reputation as a world leader in animal health. 

Tuskegee alum selected as “Virginian of the Year”

Tuskegee alum, retired educator and military officer, Porcher L. Taylor Jr. has been selected as the Virginia Press Association’s 2014 Virginian of the Year. 

Taylor served as vice president of Virginia State University, assistant professor at the University of Maryland, and he served in the armed forces during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, retiring as an Army colonel in 1976. His military career included terms of service in both the Navy, for three years, and the Army for 25 years.

His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Read more from the article source:, Richmond, VA.
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1995 Tuskegee University OT grad receives AOTA Roster of Fellows Award

Lesly Wilson James, PhD, FAOTA received the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Roster of Fellows Award at the 2013 Annual Conference in San Diego, CA. The award recognizes occupational therapists who with their knowledge and expertise have made a significant contribution to the continuing education and professional development of members of the Association. Dr. James is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina at the Center for Disability Resources in the Department of Pediatrics. The Roster of Fellows Award is in recognition of her “Outstanding Contributions in Service and Professional Development.” 

Lesly Wilson James, PhD, FAOTA recently published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. The manuscript is entitled “Online Survey Examining Practitioners’ Perceived Preparedness in the Early Identification of Autism”. James, L. W., Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., & Schefkind, S. (2014). Online survey examining practitioners’ perceived preparedness in the early identification of autism. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, e13–e20. 

Read more at .

Tuskegee grad retires as a superior court judge

John Allen graduated from Tuskegee University with a mechanical engineering degree, became an Air Force officer and a decorated fighter pilot in the Vietnam War.

Allen went on to attend law school and was sworn in to the Georgia Bar in 1976. Overcoming obstacles, he became a court judge, was appointed to the State Court bench before becoming a Superior Court judge in 1993.  CLICK HERE to read the article from the Ledger-Enquirer.

Students receive scholarships at Chicago Tuskegee Alumni Club's annual scholarship luncheon

Chicago, IL (November 11, 2013) — Four students received scholarships from The Chicago Tuskegee Alumni Club, Inc., at their annual scholarship luncheon, held on Saturday, November 9, 2013. With the theme of “Celebrating the Tuskegee Heritage,” alumni, friends, and supporters of Tuskegee University attended the event to celebrate the accomplishments of the University, the alumni, students and other distinguished persons. Candace Clark, Bolade Richardson, Taurean Merriweather, and Jordan Chatman each received scholarships in the amount of 1,000. 

William “Bill” Winston, Ph.D., founder and Pastor of Living Word Christian Center, was presented the Chicago Tuskegee Club Legacy Award. This award recognizes an individual who has made extraordinary, sustained, and positive contributions within the Chicagoland community, and has also made them on a global platform. Winston also received an award from the Chicago DoDo chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Mohammad Bhuiyan, Ph.D., Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Tuskegee University, brought greetings on behalf of the University and provided an overview of the current state of affairs at the University. Bhuiyan also shared information about the upcoming plans and projects under review at the university.

Mr. William Smith, III, was scholarship luncheon chairperson. Rubye Taylor-Drake, PhD., currently serves as president of the Chicago Tuskegee Club, Inc.

Tuskegee Alumnus inducted into the Alabama Military Hall of Honor

Major General (Retired) Oliver Dillard attended Tuskegee Institute until he was drafted during WWII. He went on to attend Officer Candidate School and subsequently became only the fifth African American to be promoted to General Officer. Dillard, wounded twice in Korea, received the Silver Star for his heroism and was inducted into the Alabama Military Hall of Fame.

He often credits his time at Tuskegee as the foundation of his success in life.  Please read the Montgomery Advertiser article about the induction.

Tuskegee alumna receives award at 2013 Women of Color STEM conference

University alumna Mary Benjamin, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff was recently presented with the College Level Promotion of Education award at the 2013 Women of Color STEM Conference in Dallas, Texas. The Women of Color STEM conference is a multicultural event that identifies and caters to women in scientific and technical careers.  The host of the Women of Color STEM Conference was the Career Communications Group. CLICK HERE to read more.

Women of Color magazine is published by Career Communications Group (CCG), the leader in celebrating diversity and promoting equal opportunity for minorities and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). CCG provides leadership in talent management and career development, enabling employers to recruit, retain, and recognize highly qualified minorities.

For more information about this year’s awardees, sponsors, and registration details, please visit

Obama appoints alumnus to federal initiative on HBCUs

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (September 24, 2013) — George Cooper, an alumnus and former faculty member, has been appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In his new post, Cooper will head a team spanning across 32 federal agencies, corporate entities, and philanthropic organizations, in strengthening the capability of more than 100 HBCUs.

Prior, Cooper was a Senior Fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where he reviewed key federal legislative initiatives related to HBCUs. Previously, he was president of South Carolina State University for four years. Cooper also worked for 17 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. He also served in administrative and faculty roles at Alabama A&M University and Tuskegee University. 

He received his B.S. degree in animal husbandry from Florida A&M University, his M.S. degree in animal science from Tuskegee University, and his Ph.D. in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois – Urbana.

To read more about the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, go to:

Baccalaureate College Rankings 2013 | Washington Monthly

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Board of Trustee member Griffin inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame

Tuskegee University Board of Trustee member Floyd Griffin will be inducted into the C. E. “Big House’’ Gaines Athletic Hall of Fame at Winston-Salem State University along with the 1977 Rams football team on Nov. 8, 2013.  Griffin was backfield coach for the ’77 Rams team, which was the first in school history to go undefeated and to win the CIAA championship. The team included running back Timmy Newsome, who went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys and was coached directly by Trustee Griffin.

The Winston-Salem C.E. Gaines Athletic Hall of Fame honors an annual class of new inductees every fall after a year-long nomination, review and induction voting process by a 15-member panel. Inductees are available in three distinct categories: former athletes, former coaches, and those who have devoted countless hours to the Athletic Department.

The inductees will also be recognized on Nov. 9 during halftime of the WSSU vs Fayetteville State football game.

Tuskegee alumnus now the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Dr. Ted Cohn of Denver, Colo., became president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) during the Association’s Annual Convention, which celebrated the AVMA’s 150th anniversary. The Tuskegee University alumnus pledged to help improve the AVMA’s bond with its members to ensure the Association is as successful over the next 150 years.

Dr. Theodore J. Cohn, DVM
AVMA President-Elect 2013-2014

AVMA Convention 2013

Tuskegee alumnus receives medal of honor

Major General Oliver W. Dillard – Awarded the SILVER STAR MEDAL for gallantry in action. On September 14, 1950 near Masan, Korea, Lieutenant Dillard and a group of 40 men remained in position to stop an overwhelming attack by a large hostile force. Joining the fire fight and moving among his men to aid the wounded and direct the defense, he inspired the group to inflict heavy casualties on the fanatic force and to withstand repeated banzi attacks. Lieutenant Dillard was wounded twice during his Korean service. Lieutenant Dillard’s gallant leadership and determined will to victory are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army. Major General Oliver W. Dillard was born in Margaret, Alabama, graduated from Fairfield Industrial High School and attended Tuskegee Institute. Major General Dillard was drafted into the United States Army in June 1945; among his many assignments, he served as Providence Senior Advisor in Vietnam, also served as Assistant Division Commander, 2d Armored Division, Ft. Hood, Texas. Major General Dillard served on active duty until February 1, 1980.

Tuskegee President attends Diamond Anniversary of the Urban League in New Orleans

Dr. & Mrs. Rochon along with New Orleans Tuskegee Alumni Club President, Mrs. Alvera Baker-Larks and other club members attended the 75th Diamond Anniversary of the Urban League, Saturday June 29, 2013 in New Orleans where Tuskegee Airman Calvin Moret was the honoree.


Tuskegee alumnus inspires students and teachers alike

Read this inspiring article in the Anniston Star:

Tuskegee alumnus receives coveted Teaching Fellowship

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is delighted to announce that Arzell Jones, a graduate of Tuskegee University, is one of 51 Fellows selected for the 2013 W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship.

A 2003 graduate of Tuskegee University majoring in biology, Mr. Jones has been a substitute teacher and tutor in Detroit Public Schools, pre-K–12; and is a graduate of Detroit Public Schools. To learn more about him, please see

Mr. Jones, like each of this year’s WKKF-WW Michigan Teaching Fellows, will receive a $30,000 stipend to complete a special intensive master’s program at one of the six partner universities—Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University.

First female master sergeant, a Tuskegee alumna, retires from the Air Force

Allie Geraldine "Jeri" Harshaw received recognition for earning the award for her service in support of the Tuskegee Airmen, black fighter pilots who endured racism to serve during World War II.She received the award in August.The award is the top honor given by Congress.

During the 1940s, Harshaw was a physical therapy technician serving the Tuskegee Airmen near Columbus, Ohio.She worked at various Air Force bases nationwide starting in the late 1940s and was transferred to Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1968, where she retired in 1973.She has been a member of the Half Century Club since 1997. During her career, Harshaw received training in X-ray work and eventually became the first female master sergeant to retire from the Air Force with 30 years of service.  ...Read more.

Tuskegee University students appointed to the UNCF National Pre Alumni Council Executive Board 

Jamon Pulliam, a sophomore, from Detroit, MI will serve as the Central Regional Director for the National Pre Alumni Council. The psychology major was appointed in March after the annual United Negro College Fund 67th National Alumni Council/ 58th National Pre-Alumni Council Leadership conference in Atlanta, GA back in February. As apart of his duties, Jamon will serve as the executive officer for the Pre-Alumni Councils at 15 different UNCF institutions and facilitate communication within the Central Region, which include Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Alabama. 

Travis Armbrister, a sophomore from Nassau, Bahamas will serve as the Editor of the Torch for the NPAC. The architecture major was also appointed after the annual conference. As apart of his duties, Travis will receive information for the NPAC newsletter, the Torch, from each local PAC and regional director Travis will also be responsible to facilitate the distribution of the Torch, which is published twice a semester with special editions if necessary, to all College Fund/UNCF affiliates. At Tuskegee, Travis is apart of the National Organization of Minority Architecture students, American Institute of Architect students, and International Student Association. 

At Tuskegee University Jamon serves as: the Bioethics Honors Program Senate Representative, a Tuskegee Ambassador, Co-Chair of the Student Government Association’s Community Service Committee, and as the newly elected President of Tuskegee University Pre-Alumni Council (TU-PAC). Jamon looks forward to bridging the gap between TUPAC and other member institution PAC’s. 

“ By the UNCF being started by our 3rd president Dr. Fredrick D. Patterson, it is only right we have some representation on the NPAC E-board.” Jamon said. “I am elated that Travis and myself have been given this opportunity and we plan to show through our work and efforts what the distinguished Tuskegee University is all about. 
Jamon and Travis will begin their new journey as appointed officials as they travel to Atlanta, GA for the spring board meeting in the coming weeks. They will meet with other elected/appointed Executive Board members to begin discussing ideas and upcoming events including the next UNCF NAC/NPAC Leadership Conference to be held in Memphis Tennessee in February 2014. 

UNCF 2013 NAC/NPAC Leadership Conference

The Tuskegee University Pre-Alumni Council (TUPAC) and members of the Tuskegee National Alumni Association (TNAA) under the guidance of the office of alumni affairs attended the 2013 UNCF National Alumni Council/National Pre-Alumni Council Leadership Conference in Atlanta, GA. 

The Pre–Alumni Council (PAC) is our students’ first exposure to alumni activities; therefore, its primary responsibility is to encourage student participation in alumni activities prior to and after graduation; to become effective alumni through giving time, talents and finances to support their alma maters. 

The university was represented by 15 alumni including Ms. Robin C. Banks (Booker T. Washington's Great-Granddaughter) and 17 students including Ms. Tuskegee who participated in the Ms. UNCF Coronation Pageant. Two alumni were honored as an Outstanding Alumni and Young Alumni, Mrs. Charlzine Turner of Tuskegee, AL (Chair of the Hall of Fame Committee) and Emmalyne Head of Nashville, TN. 

Kimberly Woodard conducted a UNCF Workshop for attendees on Campus Phonathons and UNCF awarded Tuskegee University with two significant awards. The Pre-Alumni Council won the "Go Green Initiative" award for their on-campus recycle project and Kimberly Woodard was award the UNCF Advisor of the Year Award. The students also won several smaller prizes for their participation in various activities during the 5-day conference. 

The students and I are extremely proud as the campus organization had become extremely dormant and practically phased out under the past leadership. Since the UNCF was founded by our past president Frederick D. Patterson, we felt an obligation to revitalize the organization and to be recognized by our peer UNCF member institutions is rewarding. 

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