VC Digest April 2016


March 2016  

Voorhees will hold its 119th commencement ceremony

Civil rights activist Hank Thomas will be the speaker for Voorhees’ commencement convocation, which will be Saturday, May 7 at 11 a.m. in the Leonard E. Dawson Health and Human Resources Center.

Thomas attended Howard University, where he in1960 became a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This organization was formed to give young blacks a voice in the civil rights movement. 

In 1961, he became one of the 13 original Freedom Riders who rode buses in the South to test the compliance to the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) ruling pertaining to the desegregation interstate travel. 

In 1965, Thomas fought in the Vietnam War, where he served as a medic then in 1966 he was wounded in battle, earning him the Purple Heart medal; he also earned six additional wartime medals. 

He is a life member of NAACP, inductee of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, 2010 recipient of the Margaret Bush Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award, 2010 Inductee of the Atlanta Business League Men of Influence Hall of Fame, 2011 Recipient of McDonald’s 365 Black Award. 

Thomas has established scholarships at the Piney Woods Boarding School, Howard University, Morehouse School of Medicine and Talladega College. 

Thomas is a native of St. Augustine, Fla. and is a retired franchisee of 9 McDonald’s Restaurants. He and his wife Yvonne are owners of 3 Fairfield Residence Inns by Marriott. 

Additionally, he serves on the Board of Trustees for Morehouse School of Medicine, Talladega College, Tougaloo College, The Atlanta Youth Academy and The Center for Civil Human Rights. 

The hooding ceremony and baccalaureate service for all 2016 May graduates will be held at 2 p.m. May 6 in the St. Phillip’s Chapel.

These events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Willie Jefferson, director of special events, at 803-780-1049 or at 

Voorhees alumnus continues to be a part of the community of scholars

For the second consecutive year, Voorhees College graduate Matthew A. Golson has contributed $100,000 in an effort to support additional scholarships for students. 

Golson is a graduate of Voorhees High School and Junior College and has remained steadfast in his contributions to the institution. The Matthew A. Golson Humanities, Education and Fine Arts Building is named in his honor because of his endless support to Voorhees College.

Golson was one of the recipients of the 2016 “Keeper of the Flame” award that was presented at this year’s Presidential Scholarship Gala. In addition, he was the first recipient of the Horatio Alger Award from St. Augustine College.

The “Keeper of the Flame” award is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to their community, demonstrated excellence in their profession and provided opportunities for students to complete their education at Voorhees College or an institution of their choosing.

Golson currently resides in New York and is trustee emeritus for the institution on its board of trustees.

Voorhees alumna works to get more students in grad school

Naeisha Owens, a 2012 Voorhees College graduate, was recently hired as the new graduate school recruiter at Elizabeth City State University, which is located in Elizabeth City, N.C.

In this role, Owens works to double the enrollment of current students in the graduate program by 2017.

Owens is excited about this position because she firmly believes in higher education of African-Americans and feels she can aide in the process of encouraging them to take it beyond the undergrad level.

Owens earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Voorhees College and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Alabama A&M University.

While attending Voorhees, Owens joined the Eta Nu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and was a member of the Elizabeth Evelyn Wright Social Club.

She later has aspirations in working toward establishing her own charter school for students who are in need of an alternative educational opportunity.