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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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SMU Black Alumni gather to honor history makers

 Hollywood Squares holds auditions at SMU
“Hollywood Squares” holds auditions at SMU

“Grey’s Anatomy” actress and Meadows graduate Jerrika Hinton. (Courtesy of 123People)

The second annual Black Alumni of SMU scholarship reception is coming up on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m., which will honor the 2013 SMU Black Alumni History Makers and celebrate the SMU Black Alumni Scholarship.

“We want to show that we are supporting the future while recognizing those who helped us get to where we are today as a black community on the SMU campus,” Ashley Hamilton, SMU graduate and co-community service chair of the Black Alumni of SMU, said.

The Black Alumni of SMU created the scholarship with the hopes of retaining talented black students at SMU.

“Several times students have to transfer to other schools because the financial obligation is too great,” Lauren Driskell said. Driskill is the board chair for the Black Alumni of SMU.

“For those that put in the work to get into SMU, we want to make sure they are able to continue and graduate.”

This year Driskell hopes the group will raise at least $10,000 in donations, giving it the ability to give scholarships to two recipients, instead of one.

Last year, the Black Alumni of SMU raised about $7,500 for the 2012 scholarship, which was given to Leah Johnson, a current SMU student.

“The scholarship has helped by alleviating some of the financial stress on my mother, who is the sole provider for our family,” Johnson said. “The scholarship is a nice reminder that I am being heard because it is very competitive for the scholarships here at SMU and I felt I wasn’t getting noticed.”

In addition to the scholarship reception, the Black Alumni of SMU will also be honoring history makers from SMU’s past.

“For our honorees, we are honoring people that we felt made a notable impact at SMU,” Driskell said.

“We hope the event will recognize these individuals and also give alumni an opportunity to network together.”

The 2013 History Maker Honorees include: Gerard Andrews (’91), Kelvin Beachum, Jr. (’11, ’12), Roni Dean Burren (’99), David Huntley (’80), Rhonda Belt Rhea (’77), Rev. Richard Stewart (’60) and Yulise Reaves Waters (’02, ’08).

For the evening, the Black Alumni of SMU is excited to have “Grey’s Anatomy” actress Jerrika Hinton, an SMU Meadows alumnae, as the featured speaker. Dameron Growe, also a Meadows graduate, and Kamica King, a current SMU master’s student, will be its featured performer.

The reception and celebration will take place in the Palmer Room located in Caruth Hall. Hors d’oeuvres, beverages and complimentary valet will be provided.

Hamilton hopes that through the honoring of these SMU history makers and the giving of the scholarship, SMU will continue to see a development of its black community.

“We are more than just athletes; we are artists and engineers, English majors and future leaders of our community,” Hamilton said. 

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