Press Release

Women’s Center Sponsors Jazz Fete

DURHAM – The Women’s Center at North Carolina Central University will host “Woman of Note Jazz Fete,” on Friday, Sept. 10, at the Marriott – Durham Civic Center at 6:30 p.m.  Unsung Leader Awards and Heroine Awards will be presented to six deserving women.

Three women will receive the Unsung Leaders Award.  This award honors NCCU alumna, faculty and staff members who are little known outside of their area of expertise despite their invaluable contributions and achievements. This year’s recipients are Jacqueline Waddell-Johnson, Dr. Baiyina W. Muhammad and Regina Alston.
Waddell-Johnson has spent 34 years as a team leader at State Farm Insurance and was recently named team leader of multi-cultural business development for the company’s North Carolina – Virginia – Maryland and District of Columbia region.  A 1975 graduate of NCCU, she established Operation Pretty and Polished (OPP), which makes prom dresses and tuxedos available to inner-city teens in Washington, D.C., and TOMORROW’s, a one-week HBCU college-tour program for high school students.

Muhammad is an assistant professor in the Department of History at NCCU and the 2010 recipient of the NCCU Award for Teaching Excellence.  A dynamic instructor, she challenges her students to form a global view of the world through the lens of history.

Alston is director of the Quality Enhancement Plan in the Division of Academic Affairs and the Office of University Accreditation, where she implements student and faculty training in line with the accreditation requirements set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  She also serves as a senior reviewer with the College Board, approving syllabi for advanced-placement English courses taught throughout the U.S.  Alston came to NCCU as a faculty member in the Department of English and director of the Office of National and International Fellowships.

The Heroine Award recognizes women who have a lifetime of excellence in their chosen field and give of their time to support worthy endeavors.  Three women will be presented with this award: Minnie Forte-Brown, chair of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education and coordinator of speech communication at NCCU; Kay Thomas, member and past chair of the NCCU Board of Trustees and past president of the NCCU Alumni Association, and Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, former deputy mayor of Philadelphia and the first black housing commissioner for the state of New York.

The celebration will also include a slide presentation documenting 12 Women in NCCU History whose contributions were critical to the success of the university. This “divine dozen” includes: Annie Day Shepard, Francis Eagleson, Helen Edmonds, Ruth Rush, Rose Butler-Browne, Mary M. Townes, Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage (better known as Mrs. Russell Sage), Helen S. Miller, Lucy S. Morgan, Diane S. Dent, Louise Latham and Pauline F. Newton.

Tickets for the event are $75 per person and include dinner and dancing with live music from the Kirk Keyes Jazz Ensemble.  Table sponsorships are available for $750.  For more information, contact the Women’s Center at 530-6811.  Tickets can be purchased from the NCCU Ticket Office at 530-5170.

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