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Charlotte Celebrates Black Excellence: 10 Alumni Honored for Leadership and Achievements

In a vibrant ceremony held at the Popp Martin Student Union, the UNC Charlotte Black Alumni Chapter recognized the remarkable contributions of 10 distinguished alumni with its prestigious Excellence in Leadership Awards. Established in 2011 by the chapter’s pioneering president and esteemed former faculty member Gregory Davis ’76, the awards highlight the significant achievements of Black, African American, and African alumni who have excelled in various domains and positively impacted their communities.

This year’s awards ceremony was a testament to the diverse talents and unwavering dedication of UNC Charlotte’s alumni. Among the honorees was Brittany Scott ’15, who has made significant strides in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Scott, acclaimed for her role as a professional development strategist and the face behind the successful BenhancedByScott, has become a beacon for Black women aspiring to enter the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.

Makala Carrington ’19 was awarded for her exemplary work in public health, military service, and community involvement. Her efforts, particularly at Johns Hopkins and the CDC, have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to enhancing public health policies and practices.

In the realm of arts and culture, Kevin Lattimore ’01 was recognized for his dual contributions to the banking and finance sector and the creative industry. Lattimore, an accomplished film director and music producer, continues to inspire aspiring artists while mentoring finance majors.

Stephanie Thompson ’81 received accolades for her philanthropic endeavors, particularly through “A Dancer’s Heart,” a nonprofit aimed at empowering young women through scholarships and leadership programs. Thompson’s work underscores the profound impact of combining business acumen with a humanitarian outlook.

Victoria Watlington ’13, MSEM ’23 Ph.D., was honored for her leadership in equitable economic development. As a Charlotte City Council at-large representative, Watlington has played a crucial role in shaping policies for a safer and more inclusive Charlotte.

Activism and advocacy award went to Yvette Murphy-Erby ’85, whose academic and professional pursuits have significantly advanced diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly in higher education settings.

Vernisha Crawford ’12 was celebrated for her dedication to health and wellness, especially through her work with the Trauma Informed Institute and the BYE Foundation, focusing on trauma-informed care and policy advocacy.

Entrepreneurship was exemplified by Barry Smith ’88, whose efforts in environmental conservation through his business, Paradise Cove, have set a benchmark for sustainable tourism in the Grand Bahamas.

James Ford ’22 Ph.D. was recognized for his contributions to education, serving as a transformative figure in educational equity and policy at both the state and national levels.

Lastly, the Dr. Gregory Davis Visionary Leadership Award was presented to LaShanda Miller ’88, a pivotal figure in the establishment of the UNC Charlotte Black Alumni Chapter and a trailblazer in business and community engagement.

The ceremony not only celebrated individual achievements but also reinforced the collective strength and potential of UNC Charlotte’s Black alumni. Their contributions across various fields underscore the enduring legacy of excellence and leadership within the university’s community.

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