African-American alumni and former students who have attended the University of Arkansas at Monticello will be gathering in Monticello to celebrate Homecoming 2012 on Thursday through Saturday.
In its 13th year of coordinating activities during the UAM Homecoming weekend, the African-American Alumni Association will officially kick off its weekend with a breakfast and reception at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the John F. Gibson Center’s Capital Room. The cost of the breakfast is $20 per person, and may be paid at the door.
On that morning, five honorees will be inducted into the African-American “Alumni Elite.” The Alumni Elite recipients were nominated by a group of their peers and certified by the organization’s planning board.
The 2012 honorees include Machell Dailey of Warren, Brenda Watts Norman of Dumas, and Melissia Suber Vincent, Brittany Washington and Rev. Sam Wherry, all of Monticello.
Dailey received her bachelor of arts degree in English writing concentration in 2004 and her master in the art of teaching in 2008, both from UAM. She recently received her doctorate in organizational leadership from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz. She is currently employed by the Warren School District as a 10th-grade teacher in English language arts.
Norman is a 1979 graduate of UAM with a bachelor of science degree in business education and a minor in English. She received her master’s in vocational business education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1989. Currently in her 34th year of teaching, Norman is a computerized business application teacher at Dumas Junior High School.
Vincent received her bachelor of science degree from UAM in 1985, majoring in business education with a minor in history. She received a master’s degree in educational leadership from UAM in 2009. She has been an educator for 27 years and is currently serving as principal of Drew Central High School.
Washington graduated from UAM in 2008. She attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock through a Minority Masters Fellowship. She completed her graduate work in May of 2010. She was selected as a Teach for America Corps member, where she served in the Mississippi Delta Region. In August of this year, Washington opened “Mini Dreams,” a children’s resale store in Monticello.
Wherry graduated from UAM in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree. In 1977, he earned an executive master of business administration-marketing finance and doctor of theology in systematic theology from the University of Chicago. He was the first African-American Scholastic Varsity Athlete to graduate at UAM. He is senior bishop domestic/international research and development analyst for World Link of Churches and Ministries Inc., at Baton Rouge, La. He is also senior marketing research analyst for The Wherry Company Consultants.
Recipients of the Classie Jones-Green Scholarship, the Shay Gillespie/Phi Beta Sigma Scholarship and the Al Peer/Kappa Alpha Psi Alumni Scholarship will also be announced during this event. An update will be given on the Barbara Blanks-Gathen Centennial Clock Project sponsored by the African-American Alumni Association.
“We are always excited about our Alumni Elite inductees,” said planning committee co-chairman Classie Jones-Green. “This is our 12th year to present this honor and we will now have a total of 140 members. The recipients of the award are alumni and former students who have helped to blaze paths for future students. They are very deserving of their honors and UAM can be proud of their efforts.”
Prior to breakfast, there will be a special meet-and-greet period. Special music and entertainment will be provided by the Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church Music Ensemble from Wilmar.
“We have spent numerous hours preparing for the return of our alumni and former students,” said Rev. Shay Gillespie, co-chairman. “We’ll take the opportunity during homecoming weekend to emphasize participation in as many of the university’s planned events as possible. Each and every one of us is proud that UAM has played a valuable role in our lives. We join the university in inviting everyone to return to UAM and to the Monticello area.”