Life of William Dawson celebrated during Founder’s Day events


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (March 29, 2013) — Tuskegee University will celebrate its 96th Founder’s Day with a weekend of activities April 5-7. Two of the events, the 2013 Dawson Lecture and 22nd Annual William L. Dawson Institute for Classical and Folk Music Concert, will honor the life and legacy of university choir director, William L. Dawson. William Levi Dawson was a world-renowned composer, arranger and musical genius. Dawson was a legendary conductor who took the Tuskegee choir to famed heights (1931-1955).

Dawson Lecture 

Richard "Lozelle" Jennings, renowned blues muscian and former Tuskegee University English professor.

Luther S. Williams, provost and executive vice president.
Richard “Lozelle” Jennings has been chosen to present Tuskegee University’s 2013 Dawson Lecture on April 6 at 1 p.m. in auditorium at Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Tuskegee University. Jennings, a former English professor at the university is a renowned blues musician who has performed with numerous artists and bands including: Lefty Bates, Yank Rachell, Albert Macon and Robert Thomas, Precious Bryant, Little Jimmy Reed, Eagle Park Slim, Henry Cooper and others. His background includes work as an opening act for performers like Chubby Checker, Mark Hodgson, R.J. Mishu, Curtis Salgado, and most recently Rusty Zinn and Mark Hummel. 

Jennings’ two CDs of original music include “Loz Bluz” with Dr. Lozelle’s Blues Contenders in 2000 and “Racontourism” with The Left Coast MoJo Dealers in 2007. His most recent production is "The Purple Cats—Very Live at The Black Pearl" in 2010. During Jennings’ tenure at Tuskegee, 1983-86, he was the adviser to the campus newspaper and the halftime announcer at the Golden Tigers football games. 

Also, he performed at the first Daytona Beach Blues Festival fronting the MoJo Dealers out of Tuskegee and was a solo guest artist with the Tuskegee University Jazz Band when they won the Andre Ford Jazz Competition and toured Florida in 1986. It was during this period that he met Dawson, who told Jennings the inspirational story of his life at his 85th birthday celebration. After leaving Tuskegee University, Jennings worked in the Department of English at Long Beach City College in California. From 1997-2000, he served as chair of the department. He retired in 2006.

The Dawson Concert

The Tuskegee University's Golden Voices Concert Choir will host the spiritual sounds of several invited musical choirs and societies during the 22nd Annual William L. Dawson Institute for Classical and Folk Music Concert, scheduled for April 6 at 7:00 p.m. in Logan Hall. The free concert is sponsored by the Continuing Education Program and the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. 

This year's concert will feature: Alabama State University Choir from Montgomery, Ala., directed by Joel C. Jones; Auburn University Chamber Choir, Auburn, Ala., directed by William C. Powell; Lawson Community College Choir, Birmingham, Ala., directed by Bessie Hunter-Shelton; and Morehouse College Glee Club; Atlanta, directed by Dr. David Morrow. Selections also will be performed by the Golden Voices; directed by Wayne Anthony Barr; the Tuskegee University Alumni Concert Choir, directed by Kim Jones; and the university's Concert Band, conducted by Warren Duncan. 

For more information about the concert and lecture, call Henry J. Findlay at 724-4316 or Shari Stoudemire at 727-8601.

Founder’s Day Convocation 

Luther S. Williams will give the address for 96th Annual Founder’s Day Convocation April 7 in University Chapel at 9:30 a.m. Williams was appointed to the newly established position, provost and executive vice president on Dec. 1, 2012. Williams had previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs, with additional service as dean of Tuskegee’s graduate school, director of the Ph.D. program in integrative biosciences and faculty representative for athletics. 

Williams, who also served as dean of graduate studies and director of the Integrative BioSciences Ph.D. Program, has had a distinguished career that ranges from faculty positions at major American universities to administrative roles in higher educational and government agencies, particularly in science and technology. 

Williams served as the William T. Kemper Director of Education and Interpretation at the Missouri Botanical Garden prior to coming to Tuskegee University. In 1990, he was appointed assistant director of education and human resources at the National Science Foundation, where he also served as senior science advisor. His other work includes assistant professor of biology at Purdue University, associate professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, president of Atlanta University and special assistant to the director of the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences. 

Williams earned his B.A. in biology with distinction from Miles College in Birmingham, Ala., M.S. from Atlanta University in Atlanta, and Ph.D. in microbial physiology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He has completed postdoctoral work at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

The alumni classes of 1933, 1938, 1943, 1948, 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968 and 1973 will also be celebrating their reunions during this year’s Founder’s Day weekend. 

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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