NAA awards alumni at 32nd annual banquet
October 22, 2008
The National Alumni Association (NAA) for Elizabeth City State University recognized seven alumni for outstanding contributions in categories that span from business to government relations. For the 32nd time, alumni garnered awards that reflect the vast skills they contribute to communities in North Carolina, Virginia. The winners and categories follow: Ms. Sheryl Ganus, a 1988 graduate received the Alumni Affairs award. Her professional area of expertise is information technology. She’s provided IT support for IBM, Nortel, UNC Chapel Hill Memorial Hospital, and EDS. While she resided in Raleigh, NC, she volunteered with the NC Department of Social Service, in the Big Brother /Big Sister Program and at the Women’s Shelter. Later in the Washington, DC area, she worked on contracts for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the United States Army, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Currently, Ganus works at the Pentagon supporting the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Bolling AFB, and Andrews AFB in an IT capacity. A staunch Viking supporter, Ganus worked with the Maryland Department Motor Vehicles to secure the Elizabeth City State University license plate for the university’s fans and supporters. In addition, she has established the Sheryl Denise Ganus Endowed Scholarship Fund for ECSU students majoring in Computer Science. Mr. Allen J. Mason, a 1995 graduate, received the Business/Profession award. As a student, Mason received the Marketing Achievement Award for the highest GPA in his concentration. He also received the National Business Merit Award. Following graduation, Mason worked for E Capital Mortgage Insurance (Orlando FL) where he serviced over 100 accounts in central Florida. After a promotion, he moved to the home office in Raleigh, NC. Later he serviced over 250 accounts in five states of the south central U.S. In 1998, Mason became an entrepreneur. He has owned a fund-raising company as well as an entertainment company. He has been a partner of an entertainment company, Dynasty5 since 1997 which services young black professionals throughout North Carolina. Clients included John Legend, Doug E Fresh, Chuck Brown and others. The company is best known for their monthly networking and social event call First Friday. In 2007, Allen started Water Street Entertainment where he, business partners, family, and friends created a national event–Vegas Soulfest. Vegas Soulfest, held during Memorial Weekend in Las Vegas, NV, is a fun-filled get-away weekend of concerts, shows, and events catering to African Americans. Mason resides in Durham, NC and is an active member of the Raleigh-Durham-Wake Alumni Chapter of the ECSU National Alumni Association, Incorporated. Mr. Timothy Bellamy, a 1981 graduate, received the Community Service award. Bellamy holds a master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also graduated from the Southern Police Institute’s Administrative Officer’s course at the University of Louisville and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA. Bellamy did further study with Leadership North Carolina and Other Voices – Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. After serving Greensboro Police for 24 years, he became Chief of Police (2007). Bellamy developed the "Walk Against Crime" Program, Midnight Basketball for the Youth, and the Guilford Pals Organization. Bellamy is a member of the following committees: Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army Board of Directors, Greensboro Conference on Communities and Justice Board of Directors, Greensboro Rotary, the East Market Street Development Board of Directors, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated. His professional organizations include: National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, North State Law Enforcement Officers Association, NC Police Executive Officers Association, and International Association of Chief of Police. Mr. John Richardson III, a 1995 graduate, received the Education award. Richardson holds a master’s degree from Old Dominion University (2003) in sports management. Richardson’s experience includes a physical education instructor in Newport News and Alexandria, Va. As head coach of Woodside High School in Newport News, Va., he led the team to Virginia AAA State Championships in 2004 and 2005. He also led the team to three Eastern Regional Championships and two Peninsula District (2004 and 2005) titles. Woodside won Peninsula District Tournament Championships in 2002 and 2005 when Richardson was an assistant coach. Richardson received the Associated Press AAA Coach of the Year in 2004. Since 1996 he has served as an assistant coach for the Virginia Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) 17, an all-star traveling team. He has held counseling positions at various basketball camps. For the last three years, Richardson has served as the first Director of Basketball Operations at Old Dominion University. Currently, he is an assistant basketball coach with Old Dominion University. Mr. Zack Hawkins, a 2001 graduate, received the Government Relations Award As an ECSU student, Hawkins was a member of the Executive Branch of the Student Government Association all four years. He also served as Voter Registration Coordinator at ECSU for the 2000 Presidential Election. Following his graduation, Hawkins actively participated in several political campaigns: In 2002, he served as a campaign intern for Congressman David Price and Erskine Bowles’ senatorial campaign Two terms as President of the Young Democrats of Durham County a 2004 Delegate for the Democratic National Convention Chair of the Minority Caucus (2005). Over the next three years, Hawkins served in various leadership roles across the state: Campaign Field Director and Strategy Consultant for the Honorable William "Bill" Bell Mayor of Durham State Representative Larry Hall, and Congressman David Price. In 2008, he served as Campaign Manager for Durham’s District Attorney Tracey Cline the first African American and female to hold this position. While politics plays a major role in his life, Zack is also a devoted science teacher at Southern High School in Durham, North Carolina. Tonya Mizelle, a 1995 graduate, received the Viking Spirit Award. The award is given to an alumnus/alumna, ECSU administrator, faculty member, staff member, who is an untiring and dedicated supporter of the university. The announcement of this award is "secured" until the evening of the Awards Banquet at which time the honoree is publicly recognized. Amir Rasheed & Leona Cogbill received the Viking Image Award. The Viking Image Award must be a non-alum (faculty member, staff member, community member, legislator, board member, etc.) who is an untiring and dedicated supporter of the university in spirit, deeds, and goods. The announcement of this award is "secured" until the evening of the Awards Banquet at which time the honoree is publicly recognized. Dr. Charles Cherry, president of the NAA, said these young honorees, like many before them, contribute to their communities in more than one category. In addition to community contributions, he is excited about the number of alumni making monetary donations. Currently, 96 individuals have donated a minimum of $1,000 to ECSU and there are 57 new lifetime members. "Increasing overall membership and donations to the university continues to be one of the main focus points of the ECSU National Alumni Association. We are most proud that that our Lifetime Membership is continuing to increase. We encourage all alumni to join local chapters and the national association. We should all give to the university that has given so much to us," Cherry said. Photo caption: Chancellor and Mrs. Gilchrist join NAA President, Dr. Charles Cherry, and the 2008 award winners at the organization’s 32nd annual awards banquet. standing left to right: Amir Rasheed, Zack Forde-Hawkins, Sheryl Ganus, Leona Cogbill, Jacqueline Gilchrist, Chancellor Willie Gilchrist, Tonya Mizelle, Timothy Bellamy, John Richardson III, Allen Mason, Dr. Charles Cherry.