FISK UNIVERSITY NEWS

Fisk Jubilee Singers® Are Among The 2015 Grammy Hall of Fame Inductees

The Fisk Jubilee Singers® are among this year’s inductees into the Grammy Hall of Fame. This induction is related to a 1909 recording of the Negro spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot".  Continuing the tradition of preserving and celebrating timeless recordings, The Recording Academy has announced the newest additions to its legendary GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. With 27 new titles, the list currently totals 987 and is on display at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

"With recordings dating as early as 1909 through the late '80s, this year's GRAMMY Hall Of Fame entries not only represent a diverse collection of influential and historically significant recordings but also reflect the changing climate of music through the decades," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "These memorable, inspiring and iconic recordings are proudly added to our growing catalog — knowing that they have become a part of our musical, social and cultural history."

Representing a great variety of tracks and albums, the 2015 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame inductees range from Autobahn by Kraftwerk to Lou Reed's controversial hit "Walk On The Wild Side." Also added to the highly regarded list are the 4 Seasons' "Big Girls Don't Cry," ABBA's "Dancing Queen," Neil Young's 1972 album Harvest, Chic's disco classic "Le Freak," the Sex Pistols' album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols, and Alice Cooper's "School's Out." Other inductees include recordings by Harry Belafonte, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Otis Redding, and Hank Williams, among others.

Please read the press release regarding the induction announcement by clicking the link below:
http://www.grammy.org/recording-academy/press-release/the-recording-academy-announces-2015-grammy-hall-of-fame-inductees

HBCU Digest Podcast Series -  Interview with Fisk President James Williams

Fisk University President James Williams discusses how the tradition and legacy of Fisk shapes its present day success in research, recruitment and outreach. Please click on the link below to hear the interview with Dr. Williams.

Dr. Rachel Mitchum ElaheeAlumna Authors New Book

Dr. Rachel Mitchum Elahee, class of 1993, recently authored her first book, Choose You: Reignite Your Passion For Life. It is available on Amazon and Kindle.   

Dr. Elahee is a Licensed Psychologist whose 14 years of experience in counseling ignited her passion to become a professional coach in 2008. She is an esteemed product of  MentorCoach, the leading professional coaching school dedicated to the integration of evidence-based coaching and the new science of Positive Psychology.  Dr. Elahee majored in Psychology at Fisk University. She received her M.A. from Cleveland State University and her doctorate degree from Wright State University. She is a certified coach and a certified diversity practitioner. Dr. Elahee resides in Atlanta with her husband and four children.

Dr. Fannie HewlettDr. Fannie Hewlett Named Interim President

Chattanooga State has announced Dr. Fannie Hewlett has been named Interim President.  Dr, Hewlett retired from Chattanooga State on June 30, 2014, following 35 years of service to the college during which she earned praise and recognition from peers and leaders. In 2012, she was honored by the Tennessee Legislature as an outstanding educator, she received the college’s Eye of the Tiger Award for 2010-11, and the Chair Academy Exemplary Leadership Award. She has also earned numerous accolades for teaching excellence through the years. 

A past president of the Chattanooga State Faculty Senate, Hewlett is expected to help build stability on the campus and continue the institution’s focus on student success while the Tennessee Board of Regents conducts the search process for the college’s next president. 

“We are fortunate that Dr. Hewlett, who is well respected and extremely knowledgeable about the campus and its environments, is available and eager to help guide the college during this transition period,” said TBR Chancellor John Morgan. “Her experience and qualifications will enable Chattanooga State to continue its drive forward.” 

Hewlett will replace Dr. Warren Nichols, the TBR vice chancellor for Tennessee’s Community Colleges, who took the helm as Interim President on Jan. 5 after Jim Catanzaro retired effective Dec. 31, 2014. “I am confident Dr. Hewlett will continue the excellent work Chattanooga State has already begun,” Nichols added. “Her years of service signify her respect for and commitment to this excellent institution, and that will be reflected in her leadership.” 

Hewlett began her career at Chattanooga State in 1979, as an instructor in Behavioral Sciences. She was selected as the department head for Social and Behavioral Science in 1989, until she was promoted to dean, and then to Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2001. In 2011, she was named Provost and Vice President through her retirement last year. 

Hewlett earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English from Belmont University, a master’s degree in clinical and school psychology from Fisk University, a doctorate of education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and conducted post-doctoral studies in community college leadership at the University of Texas at Austin.

DR. NATALIE ARNETT SELECTED FOR PRESTIGOUS FIVE-YEAR NSF CAREER AWARD Natalie Arnett

The Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation (NSF) notified Fisk University that Dr. Natalie Arnett has been selected for a five-year CAREER award.  Her project, “SusChEM: Synthesis and Characterization of Disulfonated Poly(arylene ether sulfone 2,4,6-Trichloro-1,3,5-triazine) Hybrid Copolymers” will support research for developing novel membrane materials for fuel cell applications and the integration of this research into polymer education through appropriate courses and laboratory experiences.  

The NSF CAREER Award Program is NSF’s premier program in the nation emphasizing the importance that NSF places on the early development of academic careers dedicated to stimulating the discovery process in which the excitement of research is enhanced by inspired teaching and enthusiastic learning. 

Dr. Arnett, who is Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Director of Graduate Studies for Chemistry, is the first female and only Fisk faculty member to win the prestigious award in almost two decades.  The award is expected to total $547,465. She will design the "Introduction to Polymer Chemistry: General Chemistry Concepts" lecture and lab, a new course for freshman students at Fisk. The award also includes support for one Fisk chemistry graduate student to participate in research.

“The NSF CAREER Award is the most prestigious and highly competitive science award of NSF. We are extremely proud of Dr. Arnett and NSF’s recognition of her excellence in integrating research and education.  Her project will impact the retention of undergraduates (including underrepresented minorities) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and increase the pipeline of talent for STEM advanced degrees and careers,” said Fisk University President, Dr. H. James Williams.

DENNIS DEVEAUX '04 PROMOTED TO DIRECTOR OF FINANCE FOR TOYOTA NORTH AMERICA Dennis Deveaux

Dennis D. Deveaux has been promoted to director of finance for Toyota's North American Material Handling business unit, which is responsible for Toyota's forklift and related equipment businesses. Prior to receiving his recent promotion, Deveaux lived and worked in Nagoya, Japan, and worked at the global Toyota Material Handling Group (TMHG) headquarters for four years. This role involved significant finance, cost accounting, strategic planning and procurement responsibilities for the world's largest manufacturer of forklifts and related equipment..   

Before his dispatch to Japan, Deveaux worked as a financial analyst at the Raymond Corporation - a $1.3 billion North American consortium of manufacturing plants, dealerships and service centers. In this former role, he led the profit planning and goal setting exercises at both the enterprise and functional levels.

In his short career, Deveaux has worked on acquisitions that have added more than $150 million in revenues, and was a leading catalyst behind an ongoing acquisition that will grow the company's asset base by $1.6 billion, adding an additional $50 million in pre-tax profitability.  Based on his past accomplishments, Deveaux is widely recognized in the Toyota (Material Handling) Group as a rising star with leadership potential. At 32, he is youngest person in the company's history to earn director-level responsibilities in any function.

Deveaux holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration (financial economics concentration) from Fisk University (2004), Nashville, Tennessee, where he earned summa cum laude honors.  At Fisk, he also served as a member of the 2004 University Board of Trustees (by election) and as president of the Student Government Association. His participation in numerous community-based programs was recognized when he received the 2004 Wesley Foundation Award for Leadership, Scholarship & Character. He later earned a master of business administration (MBA) degree with an emphasis in international business (2006), and a master of science degree in finance (2007), both from the E. Phillip Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, New York

DEBORAH BIGGERS '75 ELECTED DISTRICT COURT JUDGE IN ALABAMA 

Deborah Biggers Deborah Hill Biggers, Esq., made history during the November 4, 2014 general election in Alabama. She was elected the District Court Judge for Macon County, Alabama, making her the first female state court judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Alabama.  The Fifth Judicial Circuit is comprised of Macon, Chambers, Tallapoosa and Randolph counties.  

Judge Biggers earned her B.A. degree in Political Science from Fisk University, where she was Student Government Vice President and initiated into Pi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in 1972.  After graduating from Fisk in 1975, Judge Biggers earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Vanderbilt University School of Law. Upon graduating from Vanderbilt School of Law, Judge Biggers was one of the first staff attorneys hired by Legal Services, Inc., Montgomery, Alabama.  Her other legal experience consists of attorney for the utility rate division of the Alabama Public Service Commission; Assistant Attorney General for State of Alabama; and Attorney for the Office of Inspector General, Department of Energy, Washington, D. C.

Prior to her November 4, 2014 election as District Court Judge, Judge Biggers had been engaged in the private practice of law for more than thirty-four years, where she served as General Counsel for the Macon County Board of Education, General Counsel for the Macon County Racing Commission and represented individual and corporate clients in an extensive civil and criminal practice in south central Alabama.  In 1986, Judge Biggers was recommended for a federal judgeship by then Alabama U. S. Senator Jeremiah Denton.

Judge Biggers has served as legal advisor and Board Member of the Macon County Coalition of 100 Black Women; serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Macon County YMCA; serves as Past President and Board Member of the Kiwanis Club of Tuskegee-Macon County; and serves as Immediate, Past President of the Tuskegee Area Chamber of Commerce and the Macon County Bar Association, respectively.  Some of her many affiliations include:  a Life Member & Silver Star of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; a member of  Who‘s Who Among Executives and Businesses; Alabama Bar Association; American Bar Association; Alabama Lawyers Association; Alabama Council of School Board Attorneys; and Life Member of Fisk University Alumni Association.   

She is the mother of one son, David Biggers, who is an Assistant U. S. Attorney in Memphis, Tennessee and who is married to Tyria Biggers and they have given her two beautiful granddaughters.  Judge Biggers is also the mother of one daughter, Alneada Biggers, a 2010 graduate of Harvard University and is matriculating at Vanderbilt Law School and Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Finance to earn a joint JD/MBA.  Judge Biggers is also an active member of Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, Tuskegee, Alabama.

KATHY WALKER-STEELE '75 NAMED AKA REGIONAL DIRECTOR

Kathy Walker-SteeleKathy Walker-Steele is the new Central Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is a resident of Belleville, Illinois, and a member of the East St. Lous graduate chapter. As regional director, she has the responsibility of overseeing operations and activities of the sorority’s graduate and undergraduate chapters in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and those located in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Ms. Walker-Steele is Assistant Superintendent of the East St. Louis School District.

University Plans New Residence Hall

By Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Not long ago, the mention of Fisk University was followed by words like financial woes and court battles. It's fair to say Nashville's oldest university was in trouble when Dr. James Williams became president nearly two years ago.

“Hope dies last, thank goodness,” Dr. Williams said. “There is hope.”

When he arrived at Fisk in February 2013, hope was one of the few assets the troubled university could cash in on. Financial woes continued. The school's accreditation was on the line. Enrollment was declining. Still, the academic programs could not be compromised.

“He faced those facts and put it out there, and said, 'These are the brutal facts,'” Nashville Alumni Club President Antonio Meeks explained. “This is what's hanging over our heads.”

Students, faculty, staff and alumni all rallied in what has been an uphill battle. Employees whose performance was not up to par, or who did not fit into the future vision were fired. Those who remained endured furloughs. “We had to cut pay for a year, in fact for a year and a half,” Dr. Williams explained. “We just came off of that, thank goodness.”

By the end of 2013, Fisk's accreditation was restored. Enrollment increased from 613 students in the fall of 2012 to 773 students this fall, with expectations to top 1,000 by 2016. To accommodate that growth, in March 2015 the university is preparing to break ground on a new residence hall. It's the first construction project of this magnitude on campus in 40 years.

“We've had up to 2,000 students back in the heyday. So it's not that this is something new for us,” Meeks said. “We're returning to what we should've been all along.”  It's what Fiskites call the Renaissance.

“We can change and we can grow this to what we want it to be,” Dr. Williams said. It’s a reflection of Fisk’s history, an attempt to restore its influence and a possible re-birth of its future. “It never even crossed my mind that Fisk University would not be here,” Meeks explained.

Dr. Williams said there's still plenty of work to do. It includes building trust within the Nashville community. The fundraising and recruitment efforts continue to help provide an even more solid financial footing. There are also plans to construct a new student center.

Please click on the link below to view the interview with President Williams in its entirety.

http://www.jrn.com/newschannel5/news/Fisk-President-Plans-New-Residence-Hall-286629801.html

NEW GRANTS AWARDED TO FISK UNIVERSITY

Lyrasis Award of $50,000 to continue the preservation of rare materials in the Franklin Library.  Dr. Jessie Carney Smith is the Project Director, and this is her third award for this initiative.  The 28 month project addresses the preservation needs of special photographic and magnetic media collections that document the African American experience from reconstruction through the civil rights era.   

Google RISE Award of $20,000 from the Tidings Foundation to provide summer computer instruction for K-12 students.  Dr. Isaac Thompson & Dr. S. Ray Bullock are Co-Project Directors. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award of $500,000 to establish the Center for Teaching and Learning.  Dr. Edwina Harris Hamby is the Project Director and Dr. Princilla Evans Morris is the Executive Director of the Center

FISK COMING EVENTS

REVEREND DR. JUDY CUMMINGS TO DELIVER FISK UNIVERSITY MLK CONVOCATION ADDRESS

Reverend Dr. Judy D. CummingsReverend Dr. Judy D. Cummings will deliver the keynote address at the University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Convocation on Thursday, January 15, 2015, 10:00 a.m., in the Fisk Memorial Chapel.  She is the Senior Pastor of New Covenant Christian Church, (Disciples of Christ) in Nashville. Dr. Cummings is the first woman to pastor this historic Church in its 155 years of existence.   

An advocate for justice, Dr. Cummings works diligently in the community serving on various community boards and organizations including twelve years as a commissioner with the Metropolitan Planning Commission. She is the first female President of the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), Membership Chair of Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH), an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., a Charter member of the National Council of Negro Women’s Middle TN Section, board member of Operation Andrew Group, and a graduate of the 2013 Leadership Nashville Class. For her contributions to the community, Dr. Cummings has received numerous awards and recognitions including being nominated for the prestigious 2011 Athena Award and the 2011 Societas Docta, Inc. Nefertiti Award.  She is a founding member of the Religious Leaders for Fisk Steering Committee.

SAM MCKENZIE '87 TO SPEAK AT OAK RIDGE MLK FELLOWSHIP BREAKFAST

Sam McKenzieKnox County Commissioner Sam McKenzie ’87 will be the featured speaker at the 27th annual Martin Luther King Fellowship Breakfast. The breakfast has been organized by the Atomic City Sportsmen. Everyone is welcome to attend. It’s scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Monday, January 19, at the Oak Valley Baptist Church at 191 Hampton Road in Oak Ridge. The breakfast was previously held at the East Tennessee Family Services Building.  

McKenzie is a commissioner in Knox County District 1. McKenzie won the 2010 commission race for the First District and will serve a six-year term. McKenzie earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Fisk University in Nashville and his master’s degree in solid state physics from the University of Memphis. He is now the site operations manager at Spallation Neutron Source, serving as the complex facility manager for SNS at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 

McKenzie is a member of the East Tennessee Chapter Health Physics Society and a graduate of the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2005. He is a Minorities in Research Council Honoree and a recipient of the Fisk University Alumni Leadership Award.

HOUSTON  MLK JAZZ BRUNCH AND AWARDS CEREMONY ON JANUARY 19th 

The Houston Fisk Alumni Association will host their Annual MLK Jazz Brunch featuring Julie Johnson and the Jazz Pros on January 19, 2015 starting at 11:00 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m. The event will be held at Cafe 4212, 4212 Alameda, Houston TX, 77004. Tickets will cost $45.00 in advance and $50.00 at the door. For more information, please phone 713-522-4212 or visit www.cafe4212.com.

CHANCEL CHOIR OF CASCADE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH PRESENTS FISK UNIVERSITY JUBILEE SINGERS®

The Chancel Choir of Cascade United Methodist Church (3144 Cascade Road, SW Atlanta, GA 30311) is sponsoring the Fisk Jubilee Singers® in concert on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.  The concert is open to the public and there is no charge for admission. If you are in the Atlanta area, please come out and show your Fisk University family support.  This will be a wonderful lead in to Black History Month.

President’s Webcast to Alumni

February 10, 2015, 8:00 p.m. CST
Invites will be emailed week of February 1, 2015
Remember – we must have your email for you to receive the invite

LOS ANGELES FISK CLUB HOSTS SCHOLARSHIP FUNDRAISER

On Friday, February 6, 2015, the Los Angeles Fisk Alumni Association will be sponsoring a fundraiser to raise scholarship money for Fisk University students. The organization is using the play, "Nobody Walks like my Daddy" starring Lou Beatty '69.  This is an opportunity to assist well deserving Fisk University students. The play will be held at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, located at 4305 Degnan Blvd., Suite 101, Los Angeles, CA 90008. The ticket price for this performance will be $40.00 per ticket and the goal is to sell out the event. There are only 100 seats in the theatre so, this will be a very intimate performance. To purchase tickets, please contact Cornelia Edwards, at 323-292-7773, Vic Lesley at 818-723-0110 or Kathy Leslie at 213-840-2119. Your participation will go a long way to helping Fisk University students continue their education!

BIRMINGHAM FISK ALUMNI ASSOCIATION SPONSORS SCHOLARSHIP JAZZ BRUNCH

The Birmingham Fisk Alumni Association is sponsoring a Scholarship Jazz Brunch on Saturday, February 21, 2015, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, at The Summit Club located at  1901 6th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203. The Keynote Speaker will be Fisk University President, Dr. H. James Williams. Music will be provided by "Omni-Music". Tickets cost $50.00. Please contact Beverly Dixon '76, for more information.

HOUSTON FISK ALUMNI ASSOCIATION EVENTS- FEBRUARY 26-MARCH 1, 2015. 

For additional information, please contact Dr. Linda Brown Coleman ’70.

Thursday, February 26, 2015
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
The University Museum at Texas Southern University
3100 Cleburne
Houston, Texas  77004
Photography by Barbara DuMetz

A graduate of Fisk University, Barbara has established herself as a commercial/advertising photographer.  Her exhibit spans her 40 year successful career as an African-American female and includes photographs of celebrities of the UNCF telethon for 15 years (sponsored by Anheuser-Busch), award winning images published in Essence and Black Enterprise Magazine’s as well as images from her work with Coca-Cola Company, Delta Airlines, Inc., and the McDonald’s Corporation.

Friday, February 27, 2015
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Master Class (Dr. Paul Kwami, Director-Fisk Jubilee Singers®)
High school choral students from 12 high schools in the Houston area will learn about the history of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and their music, the importance of text in music, musical elements that make the singing of the Fisk Jubilee Singers unique, to name a few.
Mini-Concert – Fisk Jubilee Singers
Heinen Theatre – Houston Community College
3517 Austin Street
Houston, Texas  77004

Saturday, February 28, 2015
8:00 am – 10:00 am
Southwest Regional Conference
Café 4212
4212 Almeda Road
Houston, Texas 77004

Saturday, February 28, 2015
10:30 am  – 12:30 pm
Zydeco Brunch
Café 4212
4212 Almeda Road
Houston, Texas

Saturday, February 28, 2015
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Fisk Jubilee Singers® Concert (Free to the Public) in partnership with The Houston Symphony and the Citywide Grassroots Chorus with a special joint performance to include area high school choral students
The Wortham Center (The Cullen Theatre)
500 Texas Avenue
Houston, Texas  77002

Saturday, February 28, 2015
6:30 pm – 10:00 pm
An Evening with the Fisk Jubilee Singers®
Mini-concert and Dinner
The Forest Club
9950 Memorial Drive
Houston, Texas  77024

Sunday, March 1, 2015
Sunday Worship Services
Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, 3826 Wheeler Avenue, Houston, Texas  77004
St. Luke the Evangelist Episcopal Church, 3530 Wheeler Avenue, Houston, Texas  77004

Nashville Fisk Alumni Association’s Meet and Greet the Fisk First Family Fundraiser

Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 6:00 p.m., Location to be Announced

Fisk Jubilee Singers® 2015 Performance Schedule

January

Tuesday, January 20
11:30 a.m.
Jubilee Hall
Fisk University
Nashville, Tennessee

Saturday, January 31
4:00 p.m.
Cascade United Methodist Church
Atlanta, Georgia
Tickets: no tickets/free admission
423-227-8487
Roland M. Carter
or

February

Thursday, February 5
6:30 p.m.
Eastman Employment Center
Kingsport, Tennessee
Tickets: no tickets/free admission
865-689-7376
Mari Sanders


Saturday, February 7
7:00 p.m.
Martin Methodist College
Pulaski, Tennessee
Tickets: TBA
931-363-9815
Bernice Davidson


February 26 – March 1
Houston, Texas – Details to follow

March

Saturday, March 15
4:00 p.m.
Matthew Kennedy Memorial Concert
Fisk Memorial Chapel
Nashville, Tennessee
Tickets: TBA
615-329-8632
Adrienne Latham


Sunday, March 29
3:00 p.m.
Coahoma Community College
Clarksdale, Mississippi
Tickets: TBA
662-621-4144
Rita Hanfor


April

Saturday, April 11
7:00 p.m.
Spring Arts Festival
Fisk Memorial Chapel
Fisk University
Nashville, Tennessee
Tickets: No Tickets/Free Admission
615-329-8744
Paul T. Kwami


Thursday, April 30
7:00 p.m.
Bijou Theatre
Knoxville, Tennessee
Tickets: TBA
615-741-9004
Patricia Gray


May

Sunday, May 3
7:00 p.m.
Commencement Concert
Fisk Memorial Chapel
Fisk University
Nashville, Tennessee
Tickets: No Tickets/Free Admission
615-329-8744
Paul T. Kwami
pkwami@fisk.edu

May 14 – 16
Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The Martin Center for the Nashville Ballet
Nashville, Tennessee
Tickets: www.tpac.org or 615-782-4040

May 21-25
Town Hall Symphony Hall
Birmingham, United Kingdom
+44(0)121-644-5081
Richard Hawley
.uk

October

Tuesday, October 6
10:00 a.m.
Jubilee Day Convocation
Fisk Memorial Chapel
Nashville, Tennessee
Tickets: no tickets/free admission
615-329-8632
Adrienne Latham
alatham@fisk.edu

Friday, October 30
Duke University – Details to follow

November

Berklee College of Music
Boston, Massachusetts – Details to follow.

DEARLY DEPARTED IN 2014

Orin L AlexisServices Held For Orin L. Alexis, Esq., Class of 1968

Homegoing services for Orin L. Alexis were held at the Resurrection of Our Lord Catholic Church, located at 112 Fell Street on Friday, January 2, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.. Father Robert E. Chaney officiated. 

Attorney Orin L. Alexis was born on September 12, 1946 in New Orleans, LA to the late Felix J. Sr. and Irene Wright Alexis. He was also the stepson of Ruth Payton Alexis. At an early age, Orin and his family moved to Savannah, GA, where Orin and his siblings received their early Christian education at Saint Benedict the Moor Parochial School. Orin later graduated in 1964 from Sol C. Johnson High School. He furthered his education at Fist University where he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He was a Jubilee Singer, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science in 1968. He received his Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law in 1971, where he was a member of the Black Association of American Law Students. He completed additional studies at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

Gene Willie Thompson, Class of 1972

Funeral services for Gene Willie Thompson of Lewisville, Texas were held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 27, 2014, at Macedonia Ministries in Lewisville, Texas. Burial followed in Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas. Arrangements were under the direction of Emanuel Funeral Home of Palestine.  Gene died September 19, 2014, in Okmulgee, Oklahoma when his Cessna plane crashed.

Gene Willie Thompson was born on October 13, 1950, in Nashville, to Elnora Brady Thompson and James W. Thompson. He was the third of six children.

Gene excelled academically and spent a summer at Harvard University when he was 16. By the time he graduated from high school, he was #1 in the Tennessee Math Competition. After graduating as Valedictorian at North High School, Gene received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree in 1972, from Fisk University, via a full scholarship from the Ford Foundation.

After graduation, he moved to Chicago, where he met his wife, Cheryl. In September 1978, the couple moved to Duncanville, Texas and by July 1983, the Thompson family joined Macedonia Baptist Church. Gene actively sang in the Mass and Men's choirs, while occasionally singing 1st tenor solos. He was especially gifted at cooking/baking and often volunteered baked goods for special occasions, church events, and anyone who asked.

Gene had been flying twenty years. His achievements included a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) rating and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) rating and state-of-the-art training for G1000 glass cockpit. He especially loved flying to Indiana or Tennessee to visit family. He loved to encourage youth to pursue higher education and challenge themselves by providing aerial airplane rides and motivational talks through his participation with EAP and as a 2nd Lieutenant of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Regularly he would meet with fellow pilots of The Flying Eagles. 

Dennis Whitehead, Former Director of WFSK & Assistant Dorm Director Passed

Dennis Whitehead, former director of WFSK and assistant dorm director of New Livingstone Hall departed this life on December 11, 2014. His life will be celebrated on Saturday, February 21, 2015, at noon at Fairview Heights Baptist Church 1215 Marllborough Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90302.  Anyone wishing to send an expression of comfort, please send it to:
Mari and Jenise Whitehead
5325 S. Victoria Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90043 

If sending flowers, please don't send any lilies! For personal reasons, the family doesn't like lilies. Thank you

Dr. Eric Kevin Wood, Sr., Class of 1977 

Dr. Eric Kevin Wood, Sr. made his transition on January 21, 2015, in Nashville, TN. He is survived by devoted and loving wife, Thomasena Myers Wood; loving children, Eric Kevin Wood, Jr., DDS, Judson Ryan Wood, DDS, Marlena Wood Moltimer, and Thomas Myers Wood; grandchildren, Braydon, Reagan, Brennon, Andersyn, and Madeleine; mother, Mary Newsome Wood; siblings, Joseph Wood and Brian (Pamela) Wood; mother-in-law, Almena Lucas Myers; numerous other relatives and friends. His funeral was held on Monday, January 26th at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. 

While at Fisk, he pledged Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and met the love of his life, Thomasena Myers, whom he married on December 21, 1977.  He earned his D.D.S. degree at Meharry Medical College in 1981 and completed a specialty in Pediatric Dentistry at Emory University.  His infectious smile and amiable demeanor will be remembered by all who knew him.

The Fisk University Family celebrates the lives of the following alumni, former faculty and friends who made their transitions in 2014. 

ALUMNI

Class of 1937
Leslie M. Collins, Ph.D. – February 24, 2014   

Class of 1940
Marie Faulkner Brown – April 3, 2014
Constance Morrison Thompson – February 2, 2014   

Class of 1942
Franceta M. Lane – March 10, 2014   

Class of 1943
Rosa Lee Miller Adamson – July 21, 2014
Florence L. Williams – May 13, 2014   

Class of 1946
Edith Johnson Nelson – November 12, 2014   

Class of 1949
Matthew W. Kennedy, Ph.D. – June 5, 2014
Albert E. Newman, D.D.S. – February 19, 2014   

Class of 1950
James L. Hayden – April 20, 2014
Edward W. Spears, Ed.D. – January 17, 2014   

Class of 1951
Lenore V. Buford, Ph.D. – December 23, 2014
Raymond O. Pierce, Jr., M.D.  – October 14, 2014
Col. Lajoic J. Ricks – July 10, 2014
James S. Stanback III, D.D.S. – April 17, 2014   

Class of 1952
Elisie Keeling – January 24, 2014   

Class of 1954
Muriel Webb Glass – June 17, 2014   

Class of 1956
Ernest W. Bristol – August 1, 2014
Vivian E. Sims Gilliam – August 21, 2014
James A. McDonald II – August 24, 2014
Martha Ewing Ramos – February 20, 2014
Jonathan R. Reed, M.D. – November 3, 2014       

Class of 1957
Jule C. Anderson – May 1, 2014
Edith Dunnings Newman – May 5, 2014
Gloria Foster-Young – May 21, 2014
Sherman Noble, Jr. – March 25, 2014
Billye J. Purnell – May 1, 2014
Carrie Boudreaux Richardson – November 8, 2014
Sandra Redmond Woods – November 15, 2014   

Class of 1959
Leon F. Turner, Jr. – July 4, 2014   

Class of 1959
Clarice A. Gray – March 4, 2014
Howard Patton – July 7, 2014   

Class of 1960
Marion Barry – November 23, 2014
James L. Jones, Jr. – August 21, 2014
James Scott – May 22, 2014
H. German Wilson – July 29, 2014   

Class of 1961
Maxine J. Walker Giddings – March 31, 2014
Peggy A. Harding – March 28, 2014
Judith B. Taylor – January 14, 2014   

Class of 1963
Donzell Johnson – October 1, 2014   

Class of 1964
Peggy Fowler Crowell, Ph.D. – January 14, 2014
Jerilyn Thomas-Ingram – August 17, 2014   

Class of 1966
Carolyn Parker Scott – December 5, 2014   

Class of 1967
Ronald C. Booker – February 7, 2014   

Class of 1968
Sylvia Harris Johnston – December 2014   

Class of 1973
Claudia Booker Lisenby – December 19, 2014   

Class of 1975
Terry R. Adkins – February 8, 2014   

Class of 1981
Stephanie Willis Stanley – August 15, 2014     

Class of 1985
Alicia M. Harper – April 16, 2014   

Class of 2001
Ahmed J. Cook – May 25, 2014   

FORMER FACULTY AND FRIENDS

Gladys I. Forde, Ph.D., Former Professor – June 29, 2014
Mildred E. Gary, Friend – January 7, 2014
Edna S. Griffin, Friend – January 14, 2014
Lee Lorch, Ph.D., Former Professor and Honorary Degree Recipient – February 20, 2014
Elizabeth Papousek, Ph.D., Former Professor – December 17, 2014
Eric L. Raefsky, M.D., Friend – August 5, 2014

If you know of any Fisk University alumni, former faculty member or friend who has transitioned this life in 2014, please send the obituary or related information to . Thank you kindly.

To make a donation to Fisk University, please click the donate now button. Your donations truly enrich the lives of very deserving students! We thank you immensely for your support of Fisk University and the talented students we serve.

News

  1. Fisk University to Unveil New Home for Fisk Jubilee Singers®
  2. 87th Annual Spring Arts Festival
  3. NAIA All American Honorable Mention: Stevonna Scott
  4. Wynell Edwards Retires After 47 Years of Service to Fisk
  5. Fisk Jubilee Singers® concert adds special guests
  6. Fisk University to Host Sesquicentennial Scholarship Gala at Music City Center
  7. Fisk University Establishes Research Center with $5m Grant From National Science Foundation
  8. Fisk Jubilee Singer finds voice after cancer
  9. Fisk students have long history of fighting injustice
  10. Fisk Jubilee Singers bring gospel tradition to Boston
  11. Fisk Forum
  12. Dearly Departed
  13. Hotel Rooms for Reunion 2016
  14. Alpha Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Celebrates 90th Birthday with Fisk Beautification Project
  15. Fisk University Celebrates its Sesquicentennial with Various Events Year-Round
  16. Jazz on The Move: The Music and Life of Nat King Cole
  17. Frist Center for the Visual Arts Celebrates WFSK 88.1 with Free Admissions for Faculty, Staff and Alumni
  18. WFSK 88.1 Hits Milestone with Educational Programming
  19. Renowned Vocalist Presents Program of African American Spirituals
  20. Monique Odom ’95 Named Deputy Director of Metro Nashville Parks
  21. Around Campus
  22. Kim Whitley Wins Hollywood Game Night
  23. Fisk Women of Prominence Luncheon
  24. Jazzy 88 WFSK - Upcoming Events
  25. Dearly Departed
  26. Jacquelyn Favours '13 Joins Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance
  27. Fisk Professors Win $333,249 Research Award
  28. Elizabeth Taylor ’02 Joins The Tennessee State Board of Education
  29. Kimberly Goods ’93 Named Teacher Of The Year
  30. Fisk Sunday
  31. Fisk Coverage Of Founders’ Day
  32. Women Of Perfection Participate In Annual MLK Day Of Service
  33. Kansas City Public Schools Names Dr. Mark Bedell ’97 New Superintendent
  34. Berklee College of Music Presents the Fisk Jubilee Singers®
  35. Hotel Rooms for Reunion 2016
  36. Dearly Departed
  37. Sesquicentennial Exhibits – John Hope & Aurelia E. Franklin Library
  38. University Open | Monday, January 25th
  39. Classes Cancelled and University | January 22, 2016
  40. Religious Leaders for Fisk Prayer Brunch
  41. 34th Annual Convocation: In Celebration of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  42. Holiday Music at Fisk University
  43. University News - October 30, 2015
  44. University News - October 24, 2015
  45. Legacy Day
  46. University News - October 17, 2015
  47. Interim President: wants to improve finances
  48. Interim President
  49. Leadership Transition
  50. Sesquicentennial Calendar
  51. 2015 Jubilee Day Schedule
  52. 2015 Homecoming
  53. 2015 Live Well Benefits Fair
  54. New Student Orientation 2015: Brochure
  55. New Student Orientation 2015: at-a-glance
  56. 30 Great Small Business Degree Programs 2015
  57. Title IX
  58. Fisk Student Selected for Summer Research Experience at National Institute
  59. Fisk Inks Partnership Agreements with Nine Chinese Universities
  60. Trustees Establish Global Studies Fund
  61. Math Club Orientation
  62. Lady Patriot
  63. Nashville Freedom Schools' - Newsletter
  64. The walk for healthcare
  65. Sesquicentennial Art Project artist selected
  66. Volleyball Camp
  67. Awarded Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Agency
  68. Board of Trustees - New Members
  69. Los Angeles Fisk Alumni Association | Jazz Brunch
  70. Mandatory Senior Class Commencement Rehearsal 2
  71. Mandatory Senior Class Commencement Rehearsal 1
  72. President Announces Tuition Freeze & CFO Appointment
  73. Fisk 100 Revisited
  74. A $50,000 Makeover for Fisk Student Areas
  75. Student Leaders for 2015-2016 Academic Year
  76. Fisk University Associate Professor Dr. Lean'tin Bracks Has A Banner Year
  77. Inaugural Valda Montgomery Child Health Symposium Held at ASU
  78. Paine College Names Fisk Alumna Provost and VP of Academic Affairs
  79. Students Challenge State Voter ID Law
  80. 2015 Fisk University Baseball Team
  81. Swing Low Sweet Chariot moment captured on new Exeter Pound note
  82. Alumna Named Executive Director
  83. Alumnus Issues $500,000 Challenge to All Alumni
  84. Registration Opens for 2015 Maymester, Summer, and Fall Terms on March 16th!
  85. 2015 Retool Your School
  86. University Closed - Due to Inclement Weather(02.18.15)
  87. University Closed - Due to Inclement Weather(02.17.15)
  88. University Closed - Due to Inclement Weather(02.16.15)
  89. Live Demonstration of Mediation
  90. Fisk University News - January 2015
  91. Dr. Natalie Arnett selected for Prestigous Five-Year NSF Career Award
  92. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Convocation
  93. Advertisement - Vice President for Finance & Administration
  94. Fisk president discusses historic university's current state and future
  95. Happy Holidays from the Fisk University Family
  96. Christmas at Fisk
  97. Mark Crowder wins National ABRCMS Award
  98. 2014 Fisk Homecoming
  99. First Lifetime Achievement Award to Trustee Emerita Leatrice B. McKissack
  100. #GIVINGTUESDAY
  101. Fisk University Maintains National Rankings
  102. Increased Enrollment For Third ConsecutiveYear
  103. Jazzy 88 WFSK Begins 2014 Fall Fund Drive with 9th Annual 48-hour Radiothon
  104. American Red Cross | Blood Drive
  105. Jubilee Day
  106. Sesquicentennial Art Commission
  107. New Student Orientation Fall 2014
  108. From a Spark to a Flame:
  109. Dr. Gladys Inez Ford
  110. Van Vechten Art Gallery
  111. New Student Orientation at-a-glance Fall 2014
  112. Fisk University Pre-College Summer Program
  113. Baccalaureate and Commencement 2014
  114. Gables Elementary
  115. Press Release 04/24/14
  116. Press Release 04/10/14
  117. Fisk wins HCASC challenge
  118. Retool Your School
  119. 2014 Scholars Weekend Schedule
  120. Campus Safety Awareness Week
  121. 85th Annual Spring Arts Festival - Schedule
  122. Business Week at Fisk University
  123. 2014 Honors Convocation
  124. 16th Annual Fisk Research Symposium (FRS) - Call for Abstracts
  125. Fisk University and the Los Angeles Alumni Association of Fisk Univeristy
  126. Fisk University has made great strides in past year
  127. Prelaw Seminar at Fisk University
  128. Keynote at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Convocation
  129. SACSCOC Reaffirms University's Accreditation
  130. Last Night's Art Talk: Alicia Henry and Jaamal Sheats at Fisk
  131. Fisk University Presents Christmas at Fisk
  132. Fisk Alumni Article Featured in the Marin Independent Journal
  133. Stieglitz Collection Unveiled at Fisk's Partner, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  134. Fisk Homecoming Schedule
  135. Fisk Homecoming
  136. Allstate Quotes for Education
  137. Nashvillians reflect on March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr
  138. Fisk University Celebrates its Trailblazing Students
  139. Honorary Degree Nominations
  140. Fisk University receives 2013 R&D 100 Award
  141. Fisk AVP Jonathan M. Frost named a finalist for 2013 NELA Awards
  142. Golf Outing with Fisk President H. James Williams
  143. Fisk Alumna Mary K. Bush featured on television program