UNCF Recognizes Outstanding Pioneers and Innovators

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) did a great deal more than just raise $150,000 for its member colleges and universities during the 58th annual An Evening of Elegance Achievement Awards Gala Saturday, February 22, 2003. It also honored and recognized achievers in many fields of endeavors at the gala.

The highlight of the event showcased the UNCF Achievers Hall-of-Fame inductees, including Dr. Velma P. Scantlebury, the first African-American woman in the field of transplantation surgery; Representative John F. Knight, Jr., the first African-American chairman of the House of Government Finance and Appropriations Committee for the Alabama State Legislature; and Richard D. Arrington, Ph.D., the first African-American Mayor of Birmingham.

In addition to the hall-of-fame inductees, the UNCF also recognized pioneers and achievements in education, corporate, arts and culture, media, and other areas. The winners are listed below:

  *  Education Pioneer - Dr. Ruth Strong, retired educator

  *  Business/Corporate Pioneer - Mr. Charles McCrary, President and CEO,
     Alabama Power Company

  *  Arts & Culture Pioneer - Ms. Alicia Johnson, administrative assistant
     to Birmingham City Councilman Roderick Royal

  *  Media Pioneer - Mr. Gary Richardson, owner and General Manager, WJLD
     1400 Radio

  *  Political Pioneer - Ms. Carole Smitherman, Birmingham City Councilwoman

  *  Community Pioneer - Ms. Gloria Dennard, Director of Media Services,
     Jefferson County Board of Education

  *  Business of the Year - Elements, Inc.

  *  Civic Organization of the Year - Omicron Lambda Chapter, Alpha Phi
     Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

  *  Community Organization of the Year - Birmingham Urban League

  *  Corporation of the Year - SouthTrust Bank

  *  Professional Association of the Year - Junior League of Birmingham

The signature event featured performances by jazz violinist Michael Ward and renowned R&B vocalist Jeffery Osborne.

"We believe 'A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste,' and your efforts provide deserving students the opportunity to pursue a college education and better their lives. Your support of the UNCF is an investment in the education of our youth and, in turn, an investment in our future. Today's generation of students will be the leaders of tomorrow," said State Director Sonja Banks.

The UNCF is a consortium of 39 private historically black colleges and universities. UNCF was incorporated on April 25, 1944 and has grown to become the nation's oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization. More than 300,000 students have graduated from UNCF schools.

SOURCE: Alabama Power Company

CONTACT: Sonja Banks for the UNCF, +1-205-322-8623