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M A G A Z I N E

VOLUME I 2012

Spicing-up Hollywood

Do re e n

-Da n n Sp ic e r

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e l l y, ’9


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Fulfilling a Unique Legacy Fohmjti Qspgfttps boe Mfhbdz Dpvodjm Tqplftqfstpo Svuif U/ Tifggfz- Qi/E/ For generations of individuals who have studied, taught and worked at Morgan State University, Dr. Ruthe T. Sheffey stands out as a distinguished alumna, scholar and master teacher, loved by all for her passion and commitment to education. As iconic as the Holmes Hall clock tower, Dr. Sheffey, Professor of English, has positively impacted many students throughout her long and productive career. Pulitzer-Prize-winning short story writer James Alan McPherson; presidential speechwriter, Terry Edmonds; corporate lawyer and philanthropist, the late James Gilliam, and countless other Morgan graduates attribute their love of language and literature to the unmatched tutelage of Dr. Ruthe T. Sheffey. “I believe strongly in the mission of Morgan State University and the important role that we play in preparing students for leadership and life after graduation,” Dr. Sheffey says. “I’ve been a longtime supporter of Morgan, and when I was asked to consider a bequest, I saw it as an opportunity to support my faith in Morgan students now and in the future.” Dr. Sheffey’s bequest to the Morgan State University Foundation will benefit the Ruthe T. Sheffey Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will support English students based on academic achievement and demonstrated financial need. Whether teaching Freshman English, Humanities, Advanced Composition or Shakespeare, for more than a half-century, Dr. Ruthe T. Sheffey has been one who, like Chaucer’s clerk, “would gladly learn and gladly teach.” The impact of her scholarship and philanthropic legacy will be immeasurable in the lives of individuals and communities for generations to come. For more information about remembering Morgan State University in your will, or if you would like to learn more about how a planned gift or life-income vehicle can benefit you and support Morgan, please contact:

Donna Howard Director of Development (443) 885-4680 or online at donna.howard@morgan.edu

LEGACY COUNCIL Morgan State University Foundation

The Legacy Council was established by the Morgan State University Foundation to honor alumni and friends who have made a bequest or other deferred gift commitment to the Morgan State University Foundation.


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President’s Letter Alumni and Friends, Four years ago, as I considered becoming a candidate for president of Morgan, one of the many things that impressed me most about this great university was the breadth and depth of its positive influence. The two years I have spent as a member of the Morgan family have only enhanced that original impression. And the articles in this magazine demonstrate the above-mentioned influence clearly.

In Corporate America, Morgan has produced stars such as William R. Roberts, now a Morgan regent, who rose from humble beginnings on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to become president of three Verizon regions. In government, Maryland State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, another former Morgan cheerleader, has long been one of Baltimore’s most effective boosters.

Look at the many areas in which Morgan alumni have made and are making their mark. Writer/producer Doreen SpicerDannelly — protégé of playwright and Morgan alumnus Samm Art-Williams — has beaten very long odds to become a popular success in Hollywood. But she is also carrying Morgan’s torch of social activism by fighting for greater ethnic diversity in the offerings of the TV broadcast and film industries. As Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders, Will S., Keishawna G. and NaShanta E. are using their athleticism and showmanship to support an institution that binds the Baltimore community and brings joy to many. But in these jobs, as well as in their professional careers, they also use the intellect, self-confidence and social poise that they developed as Morgan students. Lonnie Liston Smith, a musical icon associated with names such as Pharoah Sanders, Art Blakey and Miles Davis, maintains his youth with the habits of lifelong learning and teaching that he gained in Morgan’s music education program. Another Morgan artist, Iantha L. Tucker, Ed.D., has made the University’s Modern Dance Ensemble an institution that encourages lifelong success in its participants.

And it’s not just our alumni who are making an impact. Professor MBare N’Gom, Ph.D., acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts, is leading Morgan’s initiative to internationalize its programs and prepare students and faculty for global citizenship. Biology professors Gloria E. Hoffman, Ph.D. and Michael Koban, Ph.D., are performing cutting-edge research in reproductive neuroscience and, in the process, helping a new generation of students learn to lead the world with their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math. In this era of great change, the challenges facing Morgan students are growing, and Morgan must continue to grow in kind. For this reason, you will read about the expansion of the Office of Development and about the many campus and off-campus improvements that are being made. To the furtherance of all of these good works of the University, Morgan alumni are critical. And I thank you for your continued support as I present this issue of Morgan Magazine. Sincerely,

David Wilson President MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2012

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Ta b l e

Morgan Magazine Morgan Magazine is published by the Division of Institutional Advancement of MSU for alumni, parents, faculty, students, prospective students and friends. Morgan Magazine is designed and edited by the Office of Public Relations and Communications. Opinions expressed in Morgan Magazine are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the University. Unsolicited manuscripts and photos are welcome but only with a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Letters are also welcome. Correspondence directly to: Morgan Magazine, MSU OPRC 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane 109 Truth Hall, Balto., MD 21251 443-885-3022 office public.relations@morgan.edu MORGAN A DM I N I S TR ATI O N Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Cheryl Y. Hitchcock

Director of Public Relations and Communications

Clinton R. Coleman

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C o n t e n t s

Vo l

I ,

1

3 Cover Story

Letter from the President

Hollywood Trailblazer

Campus Improvements

Dr. David Wilson

Writer/producer Doreen SpicerDannelly, ’93

New facilities, renovations reflect Morgan’s growth

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14

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A Corporate Winner Delivers for Morgan

Morgan Development Office Gains Capacity and Staff

Lonnie Liston Smith, ’61

Pursuing Mysteries of Reproduction

Regent William R. Roberts, ’77, works harder in retirement

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A jazz legend continues

Acquiring greater support to advance the mission

10 Morgan Partners with Hubei University Expanding MSU’s international initiative

Morgan biologists’ neuroscience research is cutting-edge, socially relevant

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Honoring ‘Mama’ Payne

Fueling the Fire for the Ravens

Celebrating 35 Years of Dance

Marathon Woman

A legendary coach inspires alumni to launch a scholarship fund

Morgan alumni anchor Baltimore’s NFL cheer squad

Modern Dance Ensemble director inspires

Sen. Catherine Pugh, ’75, ’77, boosts her adopted city

Assoc. Director of PR and Communications

Jarrett L. Carter Sr.

Asst. Director of Web Communications

Henry McEachnie

Asst. Director of Marketing

Kelvin Jenkins MORGAN M A G A ZI N E S TA F F

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MORGAN MAGAZINE

Publications Manager

Ferdinand Mehlinger

Hermes Platinum Award for Magazine/ Publication

Contributing Editor

Eric Addison Art Director

David E. Ricardo Sr. Graphic Designer

Andre Barnett

Graphic Designer

Kirian Villalta Photographers

P. A. Greene John Moore

Contributing Writers

Kevin M. Briscoe James Michael Brodie Donna M. Owens Peter Slavin Jannette J. Witmyer Contributing Photographers

Joe Lopez c.s.c.s. Clay Shaw

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" First in Freedom – How Morgan Students Sparked the U.S. Sit-in Movement

Hermes Gold Award for Overall Design for a Publication

www.hermesawards.com • 2012 Platinum Winner • 2012 Gold Winner


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Hollywood Trailblazer Writer Doreen SpicerDannelly, ’93, Adds Ethnic Urbanism to Family Entertainment By Ferdinand Mehlinger

Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, ’93, has established herself in Hollywood with major credits in television, animation and film production. As founder and CEO of her own company, Spicerack Productions Inc., Spicer-Dannelly is continually developing innovative, multicultural projects for family entertainment. continued on page 4

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Proud Family

continued from page 3

Her current hit, The Wannabes Starring Savvy, is a musically driven television series that follows six teens who want to be pop stars. “It is sort of Hannah Montana meets Saved by the Bell,” she says. After debuting in Australia in March 2010, The Wannabes Starring Savvy has been licensed internationally in more than 100 countries. The show began airing in the U.S. on Starz network in 2011. In 2007, Spicer-Dannelly developed and wrote the musically driven film “Jump In!” which broke a Disney Channel

The Wannabes Starring Savvy

record with 8.2 million viewers and was nominated for a Humanitas Prize. “The idea for ‘Jump In’ came from my childhood — from double dutch jump rope. It was my favorite pastime as a child, and I said, ‘I’m going to write a story about that,’ ” she explains. “People always associate it with being inner city, but it is international! Japan is actually the jump rope capital of the world. After “Jump In!” she developed and produced another highly acclaimed Disney Channel animated series, The Proud Family. Spicer-Dannelly’s path to success was not an easy one, but she effortlessly

recounts how it all started from humble beginnings on a hope and prayer: “I’ll give you a story of a black Puerto Rican kid growing up in Brooklyn who made it to Hollywood.” She smiles contentedly. “Where I lived, there were a lot of mixed kids, so I always felt like I had some of the greatest blood rushing through my veins from Africa and Puerto Rico.” Discovered at Morgan “Learning to be an actor at Performing Arts High School in New York, I didn’t think I was academically well-prepared for college, and my parents barely made it through high school, so education was minimal in my household….” she says. “I wanted a successful future.

The Wannabes Starring Savvy, a show produced by Morgan graduate Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, has been licensed internationally in more than 100 countries. The show stars the teenage pop music group Savvy.

USA

Central America

United Arab Emirates

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Asia

Europe

Australia


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Tony- and Emmy-nominated writer, actor and producer Samm-Art Williams (’68)

“The approach I used with Doreen was the same one that Morgan teachers used with me: It is not necessarily what you know. It is what you are willing to know.” — Samm-Art Williams (’68) I knew I had to continue my education. So when I learned that a friend of mine was going to Morgan, I asked her mom (a Morgan alum) to help me with my application. Once I was accepted, I felt like it was the best decision I made. And it turned out fantastic.” Fantastic, that is, after a lot of work and sacrifice. “My abuela (grandmother), Tomasita Rosario, put a second mortgage on her house to secure my first semester at Morgan,” she says. “Once there, I ended up taking a job, then two more jobs plus an academic load at Morgan my first year. It was tough but so worth it.” Events unfurled for Spicer-Dannelly as they typically do during a freshman year, until one day when destiny took over in a very unexpected way. “I was a communications major, but (that) wasn’t enough for me to flex my creative muscle. It just so happened one day, I was crossing the quad on my way to class when, literally, a flyer hit my feet. The flyer said, ‘Warner Bros. Brings Sitcom Writing to MSU’. Bells went off, and I immediately enrolled in the classes.”

Spicer-Dannelly’s first networking connection with Hollywood was through Tony- and Emmy-nominated writer, actor and producer Samm-Art Williams, MSU ’68, a producer on several TV shows, including The Fresh Prince of BelAir, Martin and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. He had also appeared in several films, including the Cohen Brothers’ “Blood Simple.” “I first met Doreen when I was working on (Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper) as producer, and she was a student at Morgan,” says Williams, who has always maintained his Morgan connections. He was a former writer in residence at MSU and has consistently mentored new talent at the University. “I let them (Morgan students) come out and hang out with me. Doreen was always writing things down. I thought to myself that this person here is going to be something! She always had an inner strength that was not always verbal. She always stood out, because she had the ambition to make it happen. ‘No’ was not the word to give her.” Giving Back Spicer-Dannelly began her Hollywood career as a writer’s intern on the popular ABC sitcom Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, which led to a permanent position as a production assistant. It almost didn’t

happen though. Just six months after graduating from Morgan and with only $200 left in her pocket, she had booked a flight back to New York, feeling she wasn’t making any progress with her job search in Hollywood. “Two days before my flight, I got a call from Samm-Art Williams and two other producers of Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper telling me that if I wanted the job as a writer’s production assistant then the job was mine,” she says. “I was brighteyed and bushy-tailed every day! That was the beginning of my forward step in Hollywood.” After Cooper, she followed Williams to Martin as a freelance writer, then worked as executive assistant on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Ground-level writing jobs with Cosby and The Jamie Foxx Show came next. “While working at Jamie Foxx, a call came in from a student at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania who wanted to know about Hollywood,” she recalls. “So I ventured to Lincoln to speak about my experiences of working in Hollywood. It was through this engagement that I met an animator, Bruce Smith, who asked me if I could write a pilot script for him. He gave me two weeks, and I continued on page 6 MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2012

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Doreen Spicer-Dannelly delivering the keynote address at Morgan’s 2012 Women’s History Month Convocation

continued from page 5

“Hollywood is still geared to one audience.” — Doreen Spicer-Dannelly

wrote it in two hours. But the wait to hear back was a very long time.” Two years later, missing her family in New York, she was about to go home, when she got a call from Smith. “ ‘Doreen I hope you are sitting down,’ ” she remembers him saying. “ ‘We got picked up by Disney for 22 episodes of The Proud Family. You can’t go back to New York. You have to stay!’ We did 52 episodes of The Proud Family. Disney then tapped me for other projects: I wrote ‘Jump In!’, which broke records for Disney Channel, and Variety deemed it ‘the highest rated cable movie, ever.’ ” Spicer-Dannelly has tapped her Puerto Rican heritage to create another animated series, Coqui Loco. The pilot featured Rosie Perez as a rambunctious Puerto Rican frog desperately seeking fame. In addition to writing and producing The Wannabes Starring Savvy, Spicer-Dannelly is also developing a feature film, “Forever My Lady,” a melodramatic urban Latino love story based on the novel by Jeff Rivera. “Hollywood is still geared to one audience,” she says. “The powers that be claim multicultural stories are hard to

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MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2012

market, but I proved with The Wannabes Starring Savvy that there is a large, worldwide, untapped multicultural audience out there looking for more.” Like her mentor, Samm-Art Williams, Spicer-Dannelly gives back to Morgan. She frequently visits the campus and recently delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Women’s History Month Convocation. During the visit, she was also a guest lecturer for Morgan’s Screenwriting and Animation program (SWAN), which evolved from the sitcom writing classes that launched her television career. “Know what you really want. Stay focused, believe in yourself, and leave no stone unturned.” That’s the advice Doreen Spicer-Dannelly gives to aspiring writers and directors who want to make it in Hollywood. “You will work in the business if you show determination, gratitude and excellence. Success will be yours.” For more information about Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, “Like” Spicerack Productions Inc. on Facebook, and visit her websites: www.spicerackproductionsinc.com and www.doreenspicer.com. 


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Coqui Loco (in development)

Forever My Lady (in development)

Featuring: An animated series about a rambunctious Puerto Rican frog desperately seeking fame

Synopsis: A young Latino learns that love begins with self

Coqui & friend in Coqui Loco

“If this is what you really want to do, leave no stone unturned.” — Doreen Spicer-Dannelly

Doreen Spicer-Dannelly • www.spicerackproductionsinc.com • www.doreenspicer.com

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Campus Improvements Morgan’s tremendous growth and progress are reflected in the continued expansion and improvement of the University’s physical infrastructure. Among the many notable developments, a West Campus is being created. The capital projects under way or being planned are geared toward meeting the University’s main goal: the development of citizens who are prepared to lead and thrive in the 21st century. A few of the many highlights of the University’s campus and off-campus improvements follow.

New Academic Quad Landscaping

Recently Completed Academic Quad Landscaping This project has put an elegant new face on the oldest portion of Morgan’s campus. Grass and trees were planted, and an irrigation system, stone seat walls, seat benches, pedestrian lighting and other amenities were installed, to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the quad. Budget: $3.5 million. CBEIS Facility and Garage The new, 125,000-square-foot Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies provides state-of-the-art facilities for Morgan’s School of Architecture and Planning, Civil Engineering programs, and Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies programs. The garage proCBEIS Building

School of Business and Management North-South Elevation vides approximately 500 on-site parking spaces. Budget: $69.6 million. North Chiller Plant The plant provides for the air conditioning needs of the North campus, including the Mitchell Engineering Building, CBEIS and, eventually, the Schaefer Engineering Building. Budget: $7.48 million. Northwood Demolition Future site of the new Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management. Budget: $1.5 million.

In Process Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management The facility is now in design, as the University seeks funds for its construction at Northwood Shopping Center. Anticipated Completion: 2015. Budget: $71.4 million. The Graves School of Business and Management will be the first building constructed on Morgan’s new West Campus, a nine-acre site made available by the University’s purchase of the Hechinger’s and Burlington Coat Factory buildings in Northwood Shopping Center, in 2004.


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Other buildings to be located on the West Campus are a new Jenkins Behavioral and Social Sciences facility and a Health and Human Services building. These buildings will form a landscaped quad area with a pedestrian spine, which will connect the quad to the adjacent shopping center and the main campus. Lillie Carroll Jackson Museum The building, now being renovated, will serve as an extension of the University’s Museum Program. Located in the Bolton Hill area of Baltimore City, the museum will house drawings, paintings, letters, photographs and other historical documents related to the Civil Rights Movement. Anticipated Completion: 2012. Budget: $3 million. Softball Stadium This project, now in design, will turn a plain softball field into a stadium with dugouts, lockers, training areas, and seating for approximately 200. Anticipated Completion: 2014. Budget: $4.1 million.

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Campus-Wide Site Improvements This title covers a variety of projects around campus, including but not limited to the Softball Stadium project and the Academic Quad Landscaping projects mentioned above. Also included are improvements along Hillen Road and the replacement of the tennis and volleyball courts. Campus-Wide Utilities Upgrade A number of utilities will be expanded, upgraded, replaced or newly built on campus. The current plan includes completing the utility tunnel in the Morgan Commons area and improving the utilities in the Morgan Commons and South Campus areas. Design of the utility tunnel is scheduled to start in FY 2012.

Planned • MSU West Campus • Jenkins Behavioral and Social Sciences Center • Student Services Building • School of Graduate Studies • Administration Building • School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences • McMechen Hall • Incubator Center for Technology Transfer • Public Safety and Facilities Management Building • Health and Human Services Facility 

Campus-Wide Signage This project entails redoing the wayfinding signs on campus and providing several electronic information signs in strategic locations at the campus perimeter. Design is scheduled to start in FY 2012/13.

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Morgan Partners with Hubei University

China Hubei University

Shanghai

By Kevin M. Briscoe

Morgan President David Wilson (left) with Xiong Jianmin, President of Hubei University in China

Morgan President David Wilson and Xiong Jianmin, president of Hubei University, formalized a plan last spring to establish a dual-degree program between the two institutions. Hubei is in the Hubei Province of the People’s Republic of China. The program calls for the exchange of up to five undergraduate and two graduate students from each school to earn degrees from both MSU and Hubei. It also provides for faculty and administration exchange research opportunities. “Over the last several months, Morgan State University has been working with the president and his team from Hubei University to establish a formal partnership between these two great institutions,” said Dr. Wilson at an April 19 ceremony on Morgan’s campus. “Today, we’ve signed a memorandum of understanding that will enable students from Morgan and Hubei to participate in some very unique opportunities.” As part of a major push beyond U.S. borders, Morgan now has or is exploring student exchange agreements with universi10

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ties in Brazil, Finland and India. “We are rebranding as a global institution,” Dr. Wilson said in prepared remarks to a sparse crowd of students, faculty, administrators and media. “We’re committed to bringing the world to you, so you can experience the world beyond our campus, our city, our state and our country.” Citing China’s emerging economy, Brazil’s standing in the world’s energy market and India’s strides in stem-cell research, Dr. Wilson added that, “We must educate our students to take on the world, to be competitive in the world. They can’t do that competing only with local institutions.” The exchange program will also include the establishment of the Confucius Institute on Morgan’s campus as a venue for Morgan students to learn about Chinese history, culture and language, Dr. Wilson told Morgan Magazine. Students will pay tuition to their home institution and will cover their own inci-

dental expenses during their stay at the foreign institution, which will last from one semester to a full year. “We hope this collaboration will promote more collaboration between the two universities,” said Jianmin through a translator, “and have a long-term friendship and relationship.” Located in central China, about 500 miles west of Shanghai, Hubei University was founded in 1931 as the Hubei Provincial College of Education. According to its website, “Huda,” as it is colloquially known, has established international student exchange programs with nearly 70 universities. Last year, Dr. Wilson led a delegation to Hubei to commemorate Huda’s 80th anniversary and talk about launching the exchange program. These initial talks were followed by a performance at the Murphy Fine Arts Center by the Hubei University Dragon and Lion Dance Art Troupe in February. 


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‘Leading the World’

Expanding International Education at MSU

ghai

“We have strong and solid institutional contacts in Spain, France, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Latin America,” and elsewhere. — Mbare N’Gom, Ph.D., acting dean of Morgan’s College of Liberal Arts

Mbare N’Gom, Ph.D.

Morgan’s new program with Hubei University is part of a much broader initiative to internationalize the University. Through its new Center for Global Studies and Exchange, Morgan is working “collaboratively with academic departments to enhance student and faculty development through workshops, study abroad, internships, exchanges and other relevant international education programs.” “Experiential learning” is a big part of the process, and these learning experiences occur within as well as beyond U.S. borders, says Mbare N’Gom, Ph.D., acting dean of Morgan’s College of Liberal Arts. Internationalization means travel for U.S.-born students and faculty, certainly, but it also means “(bringing) other students to our campus so that they can interact with our students and expose them to other cultures,” Dr. N’Gom says. “…It’s not enough to train our students and prepare them for the international arena. We also need to provide them with the tools that will enable them to communicate cross-cul-

turally, to be able to go into another culture and feel at ease.

with international experiences, that puts you ahead of the bunch.”

Internationalization is both policy and passion for Dr. N’Gom, who was born in Guinea, raised in Senegal, earned degrees from universities in Senegal, France and Spain, and received formal training in international relations and diplomacy. He sees himself as “a genuine product of international education.” His experience and outlook fit well with Morgan President David Wilson’s vision for the University as an institution that “grows the future and leads the world.”

Morgan has the resources to succeed in its international mission, Dr. N’Gom says.

Dr. N’Gom admits that implementing Morgan’s global vision remains a challenge on the grassroots level. “We need to get students more interested in international education…. We need to show them how relevant it is and also show them that it’s an investment,” he says. “Many students are just looking at that finish line of graduation. But if you graduate with only what you learned in the classroom, that might not cut it. If you build capacity on top of what you learned in the classroom,

“We have strong and solid institutional contacts in Spain, France, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Latin America,” and elsewhere, he says. Dr. N’Gom points to individual success stories, such as Katherine Lloyd, a doctoral student and Fulbright-Hays Scholar who traveled with him and 14 other Morgan faculty to Peru in 2011. Lloyd blogged about the five-week trip and is now working to establish a partnership with a shelter for women in Peru who are victims of domestic violence. A Morgan professor of communication studies, Umaru Bah, Ph.D., is now working as a Fulbright Scholar in Sierra Leone. And Morgan gained great publicity during Dr. N’Gom’s recent trips to Colombia as a member of dissertation committees. “We are becoming ambassadors,” he says.  MORGAN MAGAZINE

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A Corporate Winner Delivers for Morgan William R. Roberts, ’77

Morgan Regent William R. Roberts, ’77 (left), with Dallas R. Evans, Morgan Board of Regents chairman, during Roberts’ induction into the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame (April 2012)

The Roberts family at home: (left to right) Hilary, William and Cherie


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William R. Roberts, ’77, is a busy man these days. Each morning, he rises early to drive to his office in downtown Washington, D.C., where he runs his own company. “I serve on boards,” he says. “I do some lobbying and consulting, business development, and I am researching how to revitalize cities and neighborhoods by building affordable housing.” Roberts has served on Morgan’s Board of Regents since 2001, a position that he calls “a lot of work, but good, meaningful work.” With all of his activity, it’s hard to tell that he is officially retired from Verizon, after a stellar, 32-year career with the telecommunications powerhouse and its predecessor companies. Before he left the company last December, Roberts was president of three Verizon regions: Maryland, which he had headed since 2000; Washington, D.C., where he took the helm in 2007; and Virginia, where he assumed the top post in 2011. Between his start as a business office manager for C&P Telephone Company in 1980, and his retirement, Roberts had many outstanding professional accomplishments, but, he says, “I am most proud of balancing family and home life while running one of the largest, most profitable and toughest regulated businesses in the state.” *** Roberts grew up in a rural community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, in Talbot County, where he was nurtured by deep roots. His ancestors were slaves on the Wye Plantation, alongside Frederick Douglass, and were among the builders of Roberts’ hometown of Unionville, just after the Civil War. Roberts’ father, who was a truck driver, and his mother, a domestic worker, raised him and his seven siblings in their poor but strong and self-reliant community. Roberts was a very good student — “I can’t say that I ever liked school, but I was good at school,” he says — and at the end of his 5th grade year, he was given the choice to attend the town’s elementary school for whites. He agreed to do so after finding out that

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the school had a gymnasium and showers, unlike the segregated school for blacks that he was leaving. By his senior year in high school, “I had made up my mind that I wanted to go to a historically black college,” Roberts says, “because I’d been with the majority from sixth grade on, and I wanted to go where I could be with some other smart black people.… So I visited Morgan, and I liked it. It felt right for me.” In the business administration program at Morgan, Roberts says he felt nurtured by professors who cared about his academic success. He also became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and joined the business club, Society for Advanced Management (SAM). But mainly, he says, he was focused on graduating and getting a good job.

organize a reception for Morgan graduates who were working at Verizon in Maryland, where I thanked them for their work and also thanked them in advance for being generous in giving back to Morgan,” he recalls. Roberts has received many awards and honors. He has two honorary doctorates and was the 2004 Business Leader of the Year. He was also inducted into the 2012 Maryland Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame and the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society, and is a member of Sigma Pi Phi, Beta Mu Boulé. He lives in Chevy Chase, Md., with his wife, Cherie, who is also a member of Morgan’s Class of ’77. Their daughter, Hilary, is a Hampton University graduate and a community health specialist for MedStar Health. Cherie, a personal trainer, says she is proud of what her husband has accomplished, but not surprised.

Before he retired from the company in December 2011, Roberts was president of three Verizon regions. From his junior year on, he spent much of his spare time in Morgan’s Career and Placement Center. There, he befriended the center’s director, James Roberts (no relation), who introduced him to recruiters and pointed him toward many other opportunities, such as his internship with IBM Corporation. In February of his senior year, he accepted a job offer in Detroit from Ford Motor Company, to join its leadership development program. *** After three successful years with Ford, Roberts was recruited by C&P, where his meteoric rise to the executive corps began. Twenty years into the business, he was appointed president, at age 44. He also gained the opportunity to help his alma mater.

“I saw greatness in him when we were sophomores at Morgan,” she says. “The type of person he is now is the type of person he was as a 19-year-old.” As for his retirement, she says, “He’s really not retired. He works just as hard as he did when he was president of Verizon, but now it’s what he’s always wanted to do. Now he’s able to really go after his own dream.” Hilary says her high-achieving father always put the time in to make their home life “normal.” “At the end of the day, he was a good father first,” she says. “I’m always very appreciative of the sacrifices my father made for me. And I hope that one day when I become a parent, I will be half as good of a parent as he is to me.” Roberts says his past still motivates him. “The Eastern Shore, even today, is a very, very racially polarized place,” he says. “However, that’s what drives me.” “…In business, nobody cares what you look like,” he adds. “They care about how you perform. And I always delivered results.” 

“One of the first things I did was to MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2012

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Morgan Development Office Gains Capacity and Staff “The department expansion is a tribute to the Institutional Advancement Division, which has been successfully raising money with limited resources for years.” — Donna Howard, Director, Morgan Office of Development

With the University’s enhanced focus on private giving, Morgan’s new development director, Donna Howard, has had an opportunity to build her own team. Four new development positions have been filled in the past year, and the Office of Development has expanded to newly renovated space on the second floor of Alumni House. “(President Wilson) is committed to providing the resources necessary to build an effective development team according to industry best practices,” notes Cheryl Hitchcock, Morgan vice president for Institutional Advancement. For his part, Dr. Wilson says that “increases in staffing and volunteer engagement are necessary to help build broad levels of institutional awareness and philanthropic support for Morgan, on a regional and national basis.” Howard came to Morgan in 2011, after serving as the national director of Individual and Planned Giving at the United Negro College Fund, as director of development at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and, most recently, as director of annual giving at Cheyney University. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts with a concentration in nonprofit marketing. Morgan alumnus Mike Lynn (Class of 1990) joined the development team in July, 2011. Lynn is the development officer for the Schools of Education and Urban Studies, Social Work, and Graduate Studies. He joins Morgan from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was assistant head football coach. Before his tenure at the University of Maryland, Lynn served as director of football operations and assistant coach at Morgan. He holds a B.A. degree in political science.

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(clockwise from left) Denise Smith, Mike Lynn, Henri Banks, Barbara Blount Armstrong and Donna Howard

Henri Banks joined Morgan in August, 2011, after a successful career in marketing and fundraising at The Johns Hopkins University. Banks serves as the development officer for the Schools of Business and Management; Engineering; Architecture and Planning; and Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. Before her work at Johns Hopkins, she served as communications director for the Maryland Mentoring Partnership. Banks holds a B.A. degree from Bethany College in elementary education. Morgan alumnus Denise Smith (Class of ’73) joined the development team in August, 2011, after a long and accomplished career at Radio One, Baltimore, where she served as senior account manager. Smith is the development officer for the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Community Health and Policy. She holds a B.S. degree in business administration. Barbara Blount Armstrong joined Morgan in January, 2012, as the corporations and foundations development officer for the University. Her portfolio includes local and national private institutional donors. Before coming to Morgan, Blount Armstrong served as interim president and chief program officer at Associated Black Charities and, most recently, as an education and fundraising consultant. She holds a B.A degree in elementary education from the former Glassboro State University and an M.Ed. degree in counseling and guidance from Howard University. The Office of Development’s mission is to engage individuals, corporations and foundations in the transformative mission of Morgan State University. 

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“When I hear young musicians, I hear the potential for great music.”

jazz LEGEND

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Lonnie Liston Smith, ’61 Morgan Grad Continues Expanding His Jazz Mind Pennsylvania Avenue in the late 1950s and early 1960s was a mecca for jazz that rivaled club scenes anywhere. There was the Old Mill, where going to jam sessions with some of the legends of the genre was commonplace. There were Gamby’s, the Sphinx Club, the Avenue Club, the Fireside and the Red Fox. And there was the legendary Royal Theater, where singer Pearl Bailey once worked as a chorus girl, where the stage came alive with the sounds of trumpeter Louis Armstrong, vocalist Nat King Cole, band leader/composer Duke Ellington and saxophonist Charlie Parker. Baltimore stalwarts such as tenor men Ed Wiley, Wilbur Phillips and Bill Swindell, alto player Jimmy Gholston, trombonist Howard “Popeye” Wayman, drummer Howard Washington and vocalists Ethel Ennis and Patricia Allen also held court on the Avenue stages. These venues were also fertile ground for a cadre of aspiring Morgan State players such as keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith, Class of ’61, who frequented the clubs while studying music education at Morgan.

at night in clubs. It was a well-rounded education.” At night, Smith performed in the Baltimore clubs, donning the purple sunglasses that would become iconic among jazz aficionados. He became adept at backing vocalists such as Ennis and guest dignitaries such as Betty Carter. At Morgan, he teamed with peers such as trombonist Grachan Moncur, bass man Mickey Bass and saxophonist Gary Bartz.

Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Earl “Fatha” Hines and Erroll Garner that would pull Smith to the keys. After cutting his teeth with saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, drummer Art Blakey and Davis, Smith formed Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echoes in 1973. This group blended atmospheric fusion, soul and funk into a sound that propelled him to stardom a year later with the album “Expansions,” which was inspired by his time with Davis. In the 1990s, Smith connected with a new, young audience. Jay-Z sampled his composition “A Garden of Peace” in the hit song “Dead Presidents.” Later, Mary J. Blige sampled “A Garden of Peace” in her Grammy-winning single “Take Me As I Am.” Smith says he enjoys returning to his alma mater and meeting a new generation of jazz players.

For an aspiring, young jazz musician, there was nothing to beat the culture of Morgan and the jazz scene of the city.

Smith came by his love of music honestly, growing up in a gospel music family in Richmond, Va. There, at his family’s home, having as visitors gospel stars such as The Dixie Hummingbirds, The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Soul Stirrers (featuring a young Sam Cooke) was a natural part of life. His father was a member of the gospel group The Harmonizing Four, which in 1945 was invited to sing at the White House by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“By day, I sang bass in the choir, played tuba in the marching band, and I had great teachers like Dr. Hill and Dr. Diggs. Dr. Strider was our band director,” he remembers. “We had music all day, and then we had opportunities to go and jam

Connected with Youth Smith started on the piano at a young age and discovered modern jazz by listening to Parker, trumpet player Miles Davis and sax man John Coltrane. But it would be the sounds of pianists Art

“People don’t realize that Pennsylvania Avenue was just as big as anything in New York City,” says Smith, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree and now lives in Glen Allen, Va. While a student at Morgan, he joined the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and became a member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity.

By James Michael Brodie

“When I hear young musicians, I hear the potential for great music,” he says. “I have a new, young drummer from Baltimore playing with me now. He got me in touch with the Morgan radio station for a fundraiser. I told the listeners that you really need to support the station, because a lot of jazz radio stations are disappearing, which means a lot of young jazz musicians are not being heard.” Smith took a few years off from performing but is back on the scene, touring and recording. Recently, he played the Prime Smokehouse in Raleigh, N.C., a venue owned by Baltimore native Ed Wiley III, son of the former Baltimore sax man. “I still enjoy playing, especially when everything is right and the music just flows,” he says. “That’s the object of the music: to have these beautifully creative performances. That’s what you want.”  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2012

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Pursuing Mysteries of Reproduction

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ResearchSpotlight Not long ago, puberty usually began at age 14 or 15 among girls in the United States. Today, the average age is dropping fast, and puberty at 9 is not uncommon. Finding out why is one possible result of research being conducted by undergraduates at Morgan State University and The Johns Hopkins University, under a five-year, $3.1-million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The program funded by the grant is part of an NIH study of how the brain regulates reproduction, a topic that falls into a highly specialized area called “reproductive neuroscience.” How and when do our bodies “know when to go through puberty?” asks Morgan Professor of Biology Gloria E. Hoffman, Ph.D., the program’s principal investigator, who is trying to find the triggering mechanism. She and Michael Koban, Ph.D., Morgan associate professor of biology, are training the students. “We know from studies of neurons in the brain that regulate reproduction that they become very active right around the time of puberty,” Dr. Hoffman explains, “and that’s what causes hormones to be released that cause all the secondary sex changes: hair growth and testicular growth and penile growth, and prompt the beginnings of cycles in females and sperm production in males. All of that is started by waking up this neuron system in the brain, but we don’t know why it wakes up.” Her team, which includes seven students from Morgan and Johns Hopkins, is looking for the neuron connection that determines the start of puberty. Understanding how the brain controls reproduction, adds Dr. Hoffman, may also help girls whose lifestyle prevents or delays them from going through puberty. She’s referring to anorexics and some athletes and ballerinas, among others. “Kids who stop eating (will) never go through puberty until they have enough

food,” she says, explaining that the brain, sensing a challenge to the body, shuts down the reproductive system. She wonders whether the inverse of this process is what advances puberty. Likewise, Dr. Hoffman says, the research may have implications for women who are frustrated in their attempts to get pregnant. Stress of many types affects reproduction. There may be implications for sleep, too. The connections in the brain that regulate sleep also regulate reproduction, she explains. ‘Best of Both Worlds’ The research grant, awarded by the Eunice Kennedy Shiver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH, is unusual in several respects. For one thing, it is designed to train undergraduates who are minorities: low-income or handicapped students or members of racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in reproductive neuroscience. The students face heavy demands. Besides attending lectures and doing lab work, they are expected to present papers at two conferences, coauthor at least one peerreviewed paper for a top journal and be accepted into a Ph.D. program. The aim, says Dr. Hoffman, is to start them on a track that eventually leads to careers in reproductive research. The grant also established a partnership between a majority institution, Johns Hopkins, and a minority one, Morgan, in hopes of furthering collaboration between the schools. That has already occurred on another project, notes Dr. Hoffman. The seven undergraduates are dividing their research time between the two campuses and so are exposed to two different faculties and the techniques of two labs. “Biomedical research is hideously expensive,” says Dr. Koban, and Dr. Hoffman adds that NIH grants usually permit faculty either to do research or train students. This grant “offers the best of both worlds,” Dr. Hoffman says.

By Peter Slavin

Dr. Koban knows what it’s like for students to struggle in a biology lab. When he was a graduate student at the University of Illinois, his advisor, famed scientist C. Ladd Prosser, Ph.D., warned him that, “unless I started working harder, he was going to kick me out of his lab.” Dr. Koban, who spent 24 of his first 25 years in Japan, came to greatly admire Dr. Prosser for his high standards and multiple biological pursuits. Dr. Koban wound up earning his Ph.D. and doing postdoctoral work. His experience includes a job in industry in human diagnostics, trying to form his own research and development service company and rising at Morgan from a contractual faculty position to the tenure track. As for Dr. Hoffman, researching the mysteries of the brain allows her to pursue two things she loves to do: solve puzzles and train students. Give her a jigsaw puzzle, she says, and “I can’t go to sleep until I place one more piece.” As a child, Dr. Hoffman wanted to be an artist, but her mother told her artists sometimes starve. Still, her artistic sensibility never left her. In 1983, she took a microscope photo that won second prize in Nikon’s Small World contest. The subject of the photo was a group of neurons containing a molecule that Roger Guillemin, M.D., Ph.D. had won the Nobel Prize for discovering. Dr. Hoffman gave her photo to Dr. Guillemin, who gave her a modern painting he had done, in return. The painting hangs in Dr. Hoffman’s living room. As for her photo, “It’s the molecule that we’re studying (under the NIH grant),” she explains “…the ultimate regulator of reproduction.” Dr. Hoffman wears her intellectual heart on her sleeve. When she lived in Pennsylvania, her car’s license plate was LHRH, the abbreviated name of that same molecule.  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2012

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What’s in a Name?

Honoring ‘Mama’ Payne Former Morgan athletes dedicate a scholarship to their legendary coach By Rasheim T. Freeman

As seen from the perspective of Baltimore City, women are making tremendous progress against gender discrimination. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake became the city’s second elected female mayor in December 2011. Nancy Pelosi, another politico born and raised in Baltimore, is speaker of the House, the first woman to hold that position in the 223year history of the U.S. Congress. Quiet as it’s often kept, these woman and many others in powerful positions owe some of their success to the lives and work of an earlier generation, one that includes yet another Baltimore great: the late Effietee M. Payne, P.E.D., advocate for women’s rights; role model and mentor for generations of Morgan students; and the University’s first female head coach. Dr. Payne was one of the first African Americans to earn a doctorate from Indiana University, where she wrote her thesis, “A Critical Evaluation of Selected Physical Education Films for Use with Girls and Women,” in 1952. And she is still known as the matriarch of the women’s basketball, softball and tennis teams at Morgan. “She was a pioneer at Morgan, an absolute champion for Morganites, especially women,” says Elaine Proctor Blackwell of Brandywine, Md. (Morgan ’49), who was Dr. Payne's first varsity basketball captain.

Driven to Lead Dr. Payne, whose career at Morgan spanned from 1946 to 1973, was a no-nonsense kind of coach who was known for being fair but tough with her female student-athletes. She demanded good grades off the court and a never-say-die attitude on the court from all of her varsity women. She personally drove her teams up and down the East Coast, even as far as Minnesota, just to show them that a woman was capable of leading all aspects of an organization. Effietee M. Payne, P.E.D. 20

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“(EFFIETEE M. PAYNE) WAS A PIONEER AT MORGAN, AN ABSOLUTE CHAMPION FOR MORGANITES, ESPECIALLY WOMEN.” — Elaine Proctor Blackwell, ’49

And in an era when women were expected to defer to the crowd and to their male counterparts, Dr. Payne demanded respect. Her son, Tom Payne, recalls his mother literally fighting for a seat at the table for women’s athletics. “I was told about one year when Mom took the entire (women’s) basketball team to sit-in at an athletics awards banquet that they were not invited to. She just took them and sat-in,” he says. Another time, during his frequent travels with the team, “a group of fans started to get out of hand in either jeering or cheering the ladies’ basketball team during a tight game,” Tom Payne remembers. “And my mom told the referee to stop the game, cleared the gym and started the game again. Most people couldn't believe it.” But, despite her strict coaching style, Dr. Payne saw the need for more entertainment at Morgan athletic events, which led her to create the now famous “Morgan Majorettes.” However, in typically atypical Dr. Payne fashion, her girls would have no part of what is now considered modern-day cheerleading.

Passing the Baton In her later years, she became known as “Mama” Payne, as her legend grew commensurate with those of the other great Morgan coaches of the day, Eddie Hurt and Earl “Papa” Banks. The Morgan matriarch’s fight for full female participation in all varsity sports, a goal realized by Title IX in 1972; her advocacy for the building of Morgan’s first all-purpose gymnasium, later named Hurt Gymnasium; and her continuing struggle for women’s rights made her a larger-than-life figure to her players and all who bore witness to her work. Her efforts, which took place mainly in the 1950s and ’60s, still echo today on the campus where her once booming voice dominated. “To me, when you say names like Mama Payne and Papa Banks and Papa Hurt, you are talking about legends that put the old Morgan on the map by winning so many championships,” says MSU’s head football coach, Donald Hill-Eley. “I am honored just to be passed the baton by (these) Morgan greats (who were) greats of college sports (in general).” “Mama” Payne passed away in 1977, but her legacy is being officially honored now by her former student-athletes. Two of them, Elaine Proctor Blackwell, ’49, and Beulah Wallace, ’53, have established the Effietee M. Payne Scholarship Fund. “We are calling on all of Dr. Payne’s former players to help us set up a scholarship that shows the hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence that Dr. Payne showed us,” Blackwell says. “We want to give the next generation this gift in her name.”

“My mother was very sensitive about the public display of women and the protocol of marching and entertainment,” Tom Payne says with a laugh. Morgan Majorettes

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Fueling the Fire for the Ravens By Ferdinand Mehlinger

(left to right) Morgan graduates NaShanta E., Will S. and Keishawna G. You can follow Will, Keishawna and NaShanta on Facebook and the Ravens website, http://www.baltimoreravens.com/ravenstown/cheerleaders/index.html

The Baltimore Ravens are best known for their high-octane, high-impact defense and offense, here in Charm City. Rolling back the clock to 2001, when the Ravens decimated the New York Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV, three future Morgan graduates were poised to become as integral to the team as the purple, black, gold and white colors that mark the Ravens’ uniforms. Their contribution, however, would bring a different kind of performance to the gridiron. Organizing and performing highly orchestrated stunts, spins, cheers and dances on the Ravens Cheerleading Squad, they helped spark the fans’ collective frenzy of support. These MSU alumni are quintessential scholar-athletes: well-dressed, good citizens, articulate speakers, with a wholesome charm that says “all-American.” Morgan holds a special place on the Ravens Cheerleading Squad lineup, with several distinctive graduates who have earned their way to veteran status with the team. In addition to its live performances at M&T Bank Stadium in front of 71,000-plus fans, the squad has its own following on Facebook. It also generates sales for the team by publishing an annual swimsuit calendar, produced with 22

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fans who make the trip for the photo shoot in Grand Lucayan, Bahamas. Spots on the Ravens cheer squad roster don’t come with automatic renewals. They have to be earned each year through a rigorous tryout process in which only the best are chosen and those who don’t make the cut don’t come back. For Morgan graduates Will S., Keishawna G. and NaShanta E. (Ravens rules require that their last names not be published), the mark has always been set high, and they have always achieved their goals. In addition to being Ravens Cheerleaders, these outstanding Morgan graduates in engineering and business have intellectually challenging careers as demanding as their physically strenuous jobs with the Ravens. Will S. Will S., ’02, graduated from Morgan a year after the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory and went on to become head stunt coach for the cheerleaders. “I was a gymnast in high school and (cheered) at Morgan during my freshman and sophomore years,” he recalls. His seven years in gymnastics gave him an advantage in his first Ravens try out, in

1998. “I was able to tumble and perform stunts,” he says, “and that got my foot in the door.” At Morgan, Will majored in civil engineering, then took his bachelor’s degree to The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, where he is a project manager. After seven years on the team, Will was promoted to head coach of the stunt team, the only co-ed stunt team in the NFL, according to the Ravens’ website. As a part of the coaching staff, Will is a key member of the judges’ panel. “There is an interview process to make the team, and we ask questions about their lives,” he explains. “So it’s more than just cheerleading: We have to send them to black-tie affairs to meet with vice presidents and presidents of companies, which requires the cheerleaders to be articulate and interact as wellrounded individuals.” The “characteristics we look for in our cheerleaders you can learn at Morgan,” he says. “Morgan gives you the tools to be successful, but you have to be aggressive in making sure that you are getting the best out of those programs.” Will was just 26 when he took on the coaching position.


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Morgan Alumni Anchor Baltimore’s NFL Cheerleading Squad

bsite,

“I wanted to be able to give back to the team and to other people. I have an opportunity here to enhance other people’s lives through a sports leadership position.” Keishawna G. A native of Maryland, Keishawna G., ’08, has been on the Ravens cheer squad for two years. She graduated from Morgan with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and is now a financial administrator for a leading construction firm in Maryland. “While growing up in Parkville (Md.), I cheered in high school but had no idea that I would eventually become a Ravens cheerleader,” she says. “I graduated from Parkville High School in Baltimore County and always wanted to go to an HBCU. I also knew that Morgan had a business degree program, and that is what I wanted to concentrate in. I had phenomenal professors in the business school who went beyond the call of duty to help us.” “Morgan gave me a lot of confidence, and the cheerleaders at Morgan were phenomenal,” she says. Her advice for current undergraduates seeking success: “Stay focused, and stay

committed to your goals. It’s all about balancing your family life, personal life and career. Have a plan and people in your plan to assist you who are already in places where you want to be. And never give up!” “I have found Morgan alum and students are very supportive and loving, and they write and encourage me on my Facebook page,” says Keishawna, after giving some love and support of her own to Morgan’s current cheerleaders. “They are so awesome. Just keep it up!” she tells the Cheer Bears, who won their second straight MEAC Championship this year. “Morgan is indeed my extended family. A lot of (Morganites) e-mail us and comment through the Ravens fan page that we started last year (on Facebook)… I love it!” NaShanta E. NaShanta E., ’04, earned her bachelor’s degree from Morgan in electrical engineering and works as an information technology specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. She is from Silver Spring, Md., and joined the Ravens in 2002. She realized that she wanted to be a Ravens cheerleader after going to her first Ravens game.

Although many outside of the sport see the glamour and fun of cheerleading, NaShanta, a stunt specialist, highlights a more serious side. “Everything we do is potentially dangerous. Cheerleading is a very dangerous sport,” she says. “There is always that thought of what if one of the guys drops us, but we have confidence in our team and our stunts.” Commenting on the squad’s social media presence, NaShanta says, “We (each) have a personal Facebook page, as well as an athletic fan page which we update to keep fans informed on events they can show up for.” “We appear at charity events (and) feature an Ocean City trip and a trip to the Bahamas where the fans can see us,” she adds. “This year was my second time going to the Bahamas for the Ravens swimsuit calendar, which will be available in August.” The 18-month calendar will include all of 2013. Looking forward as a seasoned veteran, NaShanta says, “I’ve been in this quite a while now, so hopefully I can make my 11th season. But the time is eventually coming for me to hang up my pompoms.”  MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2012

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Celebrating 35 Years of Dance By Jannette J. Witmyer

“I love what I do…. It’s what gives me my spirit.” — Dr. Iantha L. Tucker, Director, Morgan State University Modern Dance Ensemble

Merriam-webster.com defines a legacy as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor.” Dancers and others who have been touched by Iantha L. Tucker, Ed.D. identify her legacy as a gift of love and the love of dance. That’s why dancers from throughout her 35-year tenure as head of Morgan’s Modern Dance Ensemble returned to the University’s campus in February to dance and to honor their “mother” with a Legacy Concert. Dr. Tucker’s long and storied relationship with the Ensemble began in 1976, shortly after she received her master’s degree in physical education from Morgan. By then, she had already been engaged for decades in a love affair with dance, having first studied the art at age 4, at the YWCA. Later, she took classes offered by Syvilla Fort and Buddy Phillips in New York City — alongside another aspiring dancer, Alvin Ailey — while she earned an R.N. degree. Upon her return to Baltimore,

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she continued to dance, joined John Taylor’s dance company and enrolled at Morgan as a physical education major, with an area of concentration in dance. After earning her master’s, she was asked to take over the dance group. “When I took over, I changed the scope of it. I changed the name. I gave it a different focal point,” she recalls. “Before, it was just a dance group, primarily girls, and there were new dances that were done every year. I changed it to the Modern Dance Ensemble, and I encouraged young men to become members, as well. I made it a repertory company, where we do certain dances, and then we add to those dances. And it has maintained that established norm over the last 35 years,” Dr. Tucker explains. In revamping the dance group, she also began using professionals and gifted students as choreographers, in addition to using her own choreography, and she opened auditions to all stu-

dents — undergraduate and graduate — as well as members of the community, including students from other colleges and universities. These were all major changes and major accomplishments, but Dr. Tucker downplays her role, saying, “Little by little, things have grown and developed and continued, and we’ve become more successful and gotten more recognition and been able to attract better and better and better dancers.” The students and professional dancers of whom she speaks have all benefited greatly from her drive, determination and innovative approach, and are proud to acknowledge it. Ashley Burton and Heinz Adjakwah, both current undergraduate students, were elected by their peers to serve as Miss and Mr. Modern Dance Ensemble 2012 in Morgan’s Homecoming Court. They credit Dr. Tucker with being a major influence in dance and in their lives, in general.


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ce

Iantha L. Tucker, Ed.D.

“Dr. Tucker is the reason I stayed in school,” says Burton. “I just really want to dance, and she gave me a chance. She always pushes me to do better in everything. If I miss a class, she asks and wants to know why I didn’t go. We are really a family-oriented group, and Dr. Tucker has been like the mom….” Adjakwah also describes Dr. Tucker as “a mother figure, not just about dance but also about life.” He feels that her encouragement and advice led him to secure the Dorothy P. Stanley Scholarship, which enabled him to travel to Atlanta and dance in a summer intensive program with a professional company. “Being a part of the ensemble showed me that I had to work harder than I did

in high school to call myself a dancer. She helped me to understand that you have to work hard to get whatever you want in life,” he says in praise of her support. Organized by Aaron Lewis, a longtime fixture in the Ensemble family, the Legacy Concert was a huge success. It brought back former students and associates, such as Ronnie Duncan, the former announcer for the Ensemble, as well as dance professionals such as Allyne D. Gartrell, Charise Byers, Angel Chinn, Torens L. Johnson, Toni Baxter, Kitoh Grey, Freddie Moore and many others, too numerous to mention. And, with a bit of practice, past Ensemble members filled the stage with memorable performances of repertory pieces,

including “Genesis II,” “AVO Dancing” and “Religious Suite.” Dr. Tucker was deeply touched by the outpouring of love that went into creating such an expansive event. Although the concert brought her great joy, she says she also felt bittersweet emotions. “I love what I do…. It’s what gives me my spirit,” she says. “…I don't want it to ever just fade into the woodwork, which means I’ve got to keep working to make sure that it will live.” 

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Marathon Woman Sen. Catherine Pugh, ’75, ’77, Maintains a Winning Pace By Donna M. Owens

“I believe that good ideas become great ideas when you share them with other people.”

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Maryland State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh spends her days juggling multiple roles as a lawmaker, educator, entrepreneur and community advocate. But when the busy Morgan alumna has down time, she can often be found lacing up her sneakers and running for miles.

That first year, 2001, the marathon drew about 6,000 runners, who made their way through the city’s neighborhoods and past historic sites. By year two, Under Armour —the Baltimorebased sporting apparel company — had signed on as a sponsor.

“I’ve been a runner for a long time,” says Pugh, a Pennsylvania native who adopted Baltimore as her home after college. “I love what it does for my body and spirit.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Indeed, the passion Pugh has for the sport provided the inspiration for what’s become a nationally and globally known event: the Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival, which marked its 12th anniversary in October. Pugh conceived of the race — originally dubbed the Baltimore Marathon — more than a decade ago, while serving on Balti® more’s City Council. At the time, she says, Martin O’Malley, who was then mayor of Baltimore and is now Maryland’s governor, mentioned that his wife was training for a Marine Corps race. The city had previously hosted annual marathons, but that 17-year series had ended in 1989 “I said, ‘The city should have its own marathon,’ ” recalls Pugh. “He told me to go for it. I wrote the initial proposal, and that started the ball rolling.” 26

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Since its inception, nearly half a million visitors have traveled to Baltimore either to participate in the annual Running Festival or to cheer on their favorite runners. Last year, the competition attracted a record 25,000 runners — including many elite athletes — representing all 50 states and some two dozen countries. The local economic impact of the event was more than $30 million last year, according to the Regional Economic Studies Institute, an economic research and consulting firm based in Maryland. The total estimated economic impact since the event was founded exceeds $193 million, according to the festival organizer, Corrigan Sports Enterprises. Meanwhile, the charitable proceeds for such groups as Special Olympics Maryland and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have been close to $1 million. Pugh admits to feeling proud of her part in this success. “I believe that good ideas become great ideas when you share them with other people,” she says.


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Pugh conceived of the race now dubbed the Baltimore Running Festival more than a decade ago, while serving on Baltimore’s City Council.

Photo Credit: Clay Shaw, Sports35 Photography

Opportunity Broker One might think that with a feather like the marathon in her cap, Pugh would rest on her laurels. Instead, she seems perpetually in motion. “I believe you must do everything you can, if the opportunity presents itself,” she says. Pugh holds a bachelor’s degree in business and an M.B.A. from Morgan, but her career path has been anything but predictable. At various times in her life, she has been a banker, corporate director, TV talk show host, newspaper editor and publisher, and a dean at Strayer Business College. Along the way, she entered politics. By 2010, Pugh had been elected to her second four-year term as a Maryland state senator, representing the 40th Legislative District. Today, she holds several leadership roles, including chair of the state Legislative Black Caucus. “I’m passionate about public service,” says Pugh, who has authored 70 pieces of legislation that have been codified. “Economic development, education, making government more efficient” are among her priorities.

Photos credit: Joe Lopez c.s.c.s., Morristown, NJ - jerseystrong.wordpress.com

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‘Get Up and Move On’ Besides pushing for better education policies, Pugh has long been engaged in efforts to help young people more directly. Years ago, she conceived Baltimore’s Fish Out of Water series, which went on display in 2005. These colorful fish sculptures were created by local artists and sponsored by organizations and individuals to raise funds for school improvements and musical instruments for kids, among other causes. She is also the founder and chair of the Baltimore Design School, a public school launched in fall 2011 to train students for careers in fashion, architecture and design. It now has about 130 middle school-aged students and will eventually offer classes through the 12th grade. As her latest business venture, Pugh has launched a series of children’s books titled Healthy Holly, which urges exercise and good diet. Despite her hectic schedule of serving her constituents and on various boards, Pugh hasn’t forgotten her beloved alma mater. She can be found on Morgan’s campus for Homecoming, or speaking to business students about what it takes to succeed. “I tell them, ‘The world is your stage. You have the opportunity to be engaged,’ ” she says. “ ‘Failure is an option…. But so is the ability to get up and move on. Do everything you can.’ ” 

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Baltimore’s Jazz Station ""

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For Sponsorship Opportunities Contact Michelle Petties 443-885-4528 or michelle.petties@morgan.edu


Grace Kisa

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A SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY TO COLLECT TWO PRINTS BY RENOWNED AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTIST

“4 STRING FANTASY” by Grace Kisa Size 20” x 28”

“MYSTIC GUITAR” by Grace Kisa Size 20” x 28”

The Grace Kisa Set $70. (Plus $15.00 Shipping & Handling) Proceeds Will Benefit The Morgan State University Visual Arts Program These prints are sold as a pair. Both prints are autographed by the artist.

YES, I WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT THE MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM AND ADD BOTH “4 STRING FANTASY” & “MYSTIC GUITAR” TO MY ART COLLECTION.

Name:____________________________________________________________________________________

Address:_____________________________ City:__________________ State:______ Zip:________________ Telephone:_______________________________Quantity:_________ Amount Enclosed:__________________ Email:____________________________________________________________________________________ We accept checks and money orders made payable to:

MSU FOUNDATION/ VISUAL ARTS Mail to: Morgan State University, Visual Arts Department,

1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251 (443) 885-3020 E-mail: kenneth.royster@morgan.edu


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Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit #4995 Baltimore, MD 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane Baltimore, MD 21251 Office of Public Relations and Communications 109 Truth Hall 443-885-3022 www.morgan.edu

Giving today

provides financial support to Morgan students. FIVE DOLLAR Scholarship Fund at Morgan State University For More Information, please call 443-885-3040 or Visit www.givetomorgan.edu TM

Growing the Future • Leading the World

Morgan Magazine 2012 Vol. 1  

2012 Volume 1 Issue of Morgan Magazine