Page 1



MSU & the Changing

of Higher Education


2 – Cover Story



President’s Letter

‘Growing the Future’

Leadership Spotlight

Shifting demographics increase Morgan’s importance

MSU and the changing face of higher education

Building Diversity in STEM





Writing in Color

Business Ownership, the Wright Way

On the Front Line Against Ebola

Commencement 2014–2015

A Class of ’64 member and her family have built an award-winning franchise group

Morgan alumni answer the call during a humanitarian emergency

MSU graduates bring diversity to children’s literature

Morgan Wins a $23.3-million biomedical sciences award




The Patterson Scholars

Supporting Women in Brass

Best-selling author’s foundation aids MSU education students

A Class of ’64 member and her family have built an award-winning franchise group

International Players Boost MSU Volleyball

Recent appointees lift Morgan’s administrative team

Obama appointees and a revered human rights activist address MSU degree candidates in December and May

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. Send correspondence directly to: Morgan Magazine, MSU OPRC 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane 109 Truth Hall, Balto., MD 21251 443-885-3022 office

MORGAN ADMINISTRATION Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Cheryl Y. Hitchcock

Coach Ramona RileyBozier and staff recruit and develop winners

Director of Public Relations and Communications

Clinton R. Coleman Asst. Director of Public Relations and Communications

Larry Jones Assistant Director of Web Communications

Henry McEachnie

HERMES Gold Winners

MORGAN MAGAZINE STAFF Publications Manager

Ferdinand Mehlinger Contributing Editor

Eric Addison Art Director

David E. Ricardo Senior Graphic Designer

Andre Barnett Graphic Designer

Kirian Villalta Photographers

Magazine Vol I 2014 Magazine Vol II 2014

P. A. Greene John Moore Contributing Writers

Cindy Atoji Kevin M. Briscoe Donna M. Owens Matthew Scott Peter Slavin





President’s Letter MSU Alumni and Friends, In the cover story of this issue of Morgan Magazine, we look closely at a topic I have long fought to bring to the attention of the general public: the growing percentage of AfricanAmerican and Latino students in our nation’s college-age population, and the expanding role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, like Morgan, in providing these students with a higher education. I am certainly not the only observer to note this trend. On the pages that follow, you will read about two organizations that are working to address Morgan’s need for greater resources in the “majority minority” demographics of the 21st century: the National Institutes of Health (page 8) and the Patterson Family Foundation (page 24). Supporters like these recognize the vital contributions to our society that Morgan alumni continue to make. Job creators such as Paula Wright (page 14); artist-entrepreneurs such as Heddrick McBride and the other Morgan graduates in his enterprise (page 12); public servants such as Cmdr. Jyl Woolfolk and Lt. Cmdr. Tanya Grandison of the U.S. Public

Health Service (page 16); and dedicated alumni such as the founders of the MSU Alumni Trumpet Scholarship Fund (page 26) provide the innovation, creativity, intellect and hard work required for America to maintain a position of global leadership. MSU is on the move! And acknowledgment continues to come from near and far that we are on the right trajectory. Our recap of the December 2014 and May 2015 Commencement exercises (page 22) records affirmations of Morgan’s mission by Julián Castro, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and by Graça Machel, chancellor of the University of Cape Town in South Africa and the widow of President Nelson Mandela. Further affirmation comes from the University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, where four international players are bolstering the Bears’ volleyball team (page 28). Please read on to learn some of the many ways your support is helping Morgan grow the future and lead the world. Sincerely,

David Wilson President



‘Growing the Future…’ MSU and the Changing Face of Higher Education By Matthew Scott



Nearly all stakeholders agree that the United States needs to make a major investment in higher education. Demographic trends indicate that that investment should support educational institutions that serve the nation’s growing segment of minority and lower-income college students, as part of a strategic initiative to lift the country back to prominence as a world leader in higher educational attainment. But is America ready to commit to a strategy that rests the future of the nation on providing this demographic with greater access to college degrees?

Morgan State University President David Wilson, Ed.D., who raised this issue in an op-ed column titled “The Changing Face of Higher Education,” in the Feb. 1, 2015 edition of the Baltimore Sun, says the nation should have no reservations about making such a commitment. “Given the fact that the population in this country is becoming very similar to the population that (Morgan has) historically educated, we believe the states and the nation should invest more in the institutions that have years of experience taking those populations and moving them into the American middle class and the elite of this country,” Dr. Wilson says. “We know how to do it, and we have a history of returning significant dividends on that investment…. America is not going to lead the world in innovation, creativity and job growth if it is not investing significantly in institutions like Morgan State University.”

Shrinking Access Since 1995, the United States has fallen from the top position worldwide in percentage of population with college degrees, to number 19 out of 28 countries, according to a 2014 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). OECD’s analysis found that the U.S. was among a small group of countries making it harder for those with lower socioeconomic status to attend college. As a result, the U.S. now has a higher than average percentage of people who achieve less education than their parents achieved. The study also found that the U.S. was one of six countries to cut public expenditures on education between 2008 and 2011, while the other nations studied raised education expenditures by an average of 7 percent. This suggests other nations have made providing easy access to a college education a higher priority than the U.S. has.

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goal, it will need to consider a change in strategy to increase access to colleges and universities, as many recent reports forecast an increase in the percentages of students from minority and low-income households looking to attend college over the next 10 years. In its report, “Projections of Education Statistics to 2022,” the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) predicts that total enrollment in postsecondary degree-granting institutions will increase by 14 percent between 2011 and 2022. During that period, enrollment of black students is expected to rise 26 percent and enrollment of Hispanic students by 27 percent. Enrollment of white students will grow by 7 percent.

next 10 years

With enrollment of blacks and Hispanics growing at almost four times the rate of enrollment of whites, NCES economist William Hussar addressed in an email the impact of demographic changes on degree attainment: from 2011 to 2022, the percentage of white students receiving postsecondary degrees will decline from 62.5 percent to 59.2 percent, while the percentage of degrees conferred to blacks and Hispanics will increase, from 15.5 percent to 17.3 percent for black students and from 14.6 percent to 16.5 percent for Hispanic students.

almost 4x

Continued on page 4

college degrees

1 of 6

President Barack Obama has set a goal for 2020, to have the U.S. once again lead the world in proportion of college graduates. If the nation is to meet that



“America is not going to lead the world in innovation, creativity and job growth if it is not investing significantly in institutions like Morgan State University.” — MSU President David Wilson

Continued from page 3 Low-Income Majority Joseph Popovich, Ph.D., Morgan’s vice president for Planning and Information Technology (now retired), says the trend toward fewer white students and Joseph Popovich larger numbers of minority students is

“The changing composition of the college-age population has adversely affected the college-going rate. The problem has been particularly acute in Baltimore City.” — Dr. Joseph Popovich, MSU Vice President for Planning and Information Technology (Retired)



an extension of what has been happening in elementary and secondary education. He says the total number of high school graduates in Maryland has been stable but that the increasing percentage of minorities and lower-income students among graduates has resulted in a significant downturn in college freshmen since 2009. Another challenge for educators was revealed in a recent report by the Southern Education Foundation, which shows that for the first time in history, the majority of children attending public schools in the U.S. (51 percent) qualified for the free and reduced priced lunches distributed to assist the poor. This indicates that the low-income student population of secondary schools is growing. Studies show lower-income students attend college at a much lower rate than students with higher incomes. “The changing composition of the college-age population has adversely affected the college-going rate,” says Dr. Popovich. “The problem has been particularly acute in Baltimore City.”

Need for Strategy If the U.S. wants to increase the percentage of its population with college degrees, it will need to address these trends. Dr. Wilson says the nation should do so strategically. ‘’We can’t just look at what is in the best interest of our nation today but what is in the best interest of our nation in 20 years or 30 years,” he says. “We have to invest in individuals right here in America who are brown and black and who can be (our future), but we have to make some very strategic decisions. (The strategy) has to cross political lines, and it has to rise to a level where people understand that this is in the best interest of the long-term viability, competitiveness and prosperity of America.” Dr. Wilson recommends that educators and legislators in each state have an honest conversation to determine which demographic trends are impacting their college enrollment. Then they can assess which types of resources are necessary to make the best of those trends and set

educational policies that will effectively deal with the anticipated growth or decline in the student population. A national policy that encourages college education and invests in institutions of higher learning can then be established.

Formulas for Success Gloria J. Gibson, Ph.D., Morgan’s provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, says education officials need to be open to applying diverse approaches to educating students. All students can succeed, she says, if universities have the proper resources. Gloria Gibson “I don’t think you can stereotype and say that because you are from a low-income family, it equates to low achievement,” Dr. Gibson says. “There is a different formula for their success.” She points out that schools spend huge amounts on programs for gifted students and should now consider spending additional resources on programs that inspire low-income and minority students. Morgan offers a successful summer

bridge program for students who might be academically unprepared and also offers tutoring and other services to support students from different backgrounds. “The research tells us that students of color do very well when they are engaged in high-impact practices: internships, service learning, community engagement, collaborations with faculty and study abroad,” Dr. Gibson says. “These kinds of activities give students a real-life experience,” which can translate into achievements far greater than scoring high on an exam.

Although Morgan’s operating budget is comparable to that of most other major universities in Maryland, Dr. Popovich says a larger share of it is used for student financial aid, which takes away from resources to address other needs, such as lighter teaching loads for faculty, recruitment of more skilled faculty and enhancement of student support programs and services. Money is also needed for school infrastructure. Morgan has built a new School of Business and Management to remain competitive, but building and maintaining more state-of-the-art classrooms,

“The research tells us that students of color do very well when they are engaged in high-impact practices.” — Dr. Gloria J. Gibson, MSU Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs

Government Funding Morgan embraces this idea of implementing various kinds of learning approaches and experiences for students: something Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been doing successfully for years. But to implement such diversified teaching approaches, more money than is normally available to colleges that support minority and lowerincome students will be needed.

studios and laboratories, and purchasing new technologies for students now and in the future need continuous funding. Where will the money to support institutions like Morgan come from? Like Dr. Wilson, many other experts say it should come from increasing state and local government financial support for post-secondary education. Continued on page 6 MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2015


Continued from page 5

Margaret Cahalan

“Countries that are much poorer than the U.S., and have large portions of their populations without many resources, have surpassed the U.S. in college degree attainment, by putting large amounts of public funds into supporting post-secondary education,” says Margaret Cahalan, Ph.D., vice president of research for The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Education.

Direct Investment Dr. Cahalan believes state and local governments should invest more heavily in institutions offering advanced degrees, and she is

also in favor of a modified version of President Obama’s proposal supporting free community college education. Dr. Wilson supports Obama’s free college education proposal as well. Dr. Cahalan says she would like to see the president’s proposal expanded from paying for two years of community college to paying for the first two years at any four-year institution of higher education. “That would be a big boost to reducing the cost of post-secondary education for everyone,” she says. Regarding financial aid, Dr. Cahalan says she would like to see Pell grants cover threefourths of the costs of four-year colleges, as they were originally intended. “Currently, they cover about 27 percent of the average college costs,” she says. Last, Dr. Cahalan says that since 70 percent of those who earn a four-year degree end up with college debt, incentive programs that repay or forgive portions of debt for students who complete their programs of study could also increase enrollment. Such programs have worked well in other countries. For Dr. Wilson, the best approach would be direct investment in institutions like Morgan that have worked with low-income students and students of color and have a proven record of producing scholars, engineers, business leaders, creative professionals and other productive members of society. “We are going to have to invest more in the infrastructure of these institutions, and we are going to have to provide more financial assistance to enable young people who are coming from families with limited resources to not just enter college but to complete college,” Dr. Wilson says. “If states and the federal government don’t understand this as a collaborative effort, I hate to think where we will be as a nation in the next 25 years.” o




MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITy HAS ESTABLISHED A CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITY PROGRAM TO FUND SCHOLARSHIPS for students and to ensure the future health and well-being of Morgan State University for generations to come. The Charitable Gift Annuity is a simple and convenient way to make a generous gift to Morgan and receive fixed payments for the remainder of your life, regardless of market conditions. you can even provide that payments continue for the life of another person, if desired. The amount of the annuity payment depends upon the age(s) of the individual(s) receiving the annuity and the amount of the gift.

• You will be entitled to a charitable income tax deduction for the year your gift annuity is funded. • Morgan has a minimum gift of $10,000 to establish a charitable gift annuity. • Charitable gift annuities may be funded with cash or marketable securities.

The table below shows various payout rates at different ages, as recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities, a national association of charities. GIFT ANNUITY RATES Single Annuitant Age .......Rate 65 .........4.7% 70 .........5.1% 75 .........5.8% 80 .........6.8% 85 .........7.8% 90 .........9.0%

Two Annuitants Age ...........Rate 65/69 .......4.4% 70/72 .......4.7% 75/77 .......5.1% 80/81 .......5.8% 85/86 .......6.9% 90/95 .......8.8%

For illustrative purposes only. Rates are subject to change. Contact the Office of Annual Giving for exact benefit information.

We invite you to call to request a confidential personalized report prepared for you that will illustrate the payment amount and an estimate of your income tax deduction.

To learn more about how you can establish a Charitable Gift Annuity to support Morgan State University, contact Donna Howard, CFRE, Director of Development in the Development Office at 443-885-4680.

Building Diversity in STEM Morgan Wins a $23.3-Million Biomedical Sciences Award

A $23.3-million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) last October was the second-largest competitive award in Morgan’s history and the highest ever from the NIH. The award, from a program called Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD), is designed to attract more students from underrepresented minority groups into the biomedical sciences and help enable their success in NIH-funded research after graduation. “While past efforts to diversify our workforce have had significant impact on individuals, we have not made substantial progress in supporting diversity,” said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of NIH. “This program will test new models of training and mentoring so that we can ultimately attract the best minds from all groups to biomedical research.” The NIH points to social science research suggesting that a fundamental shift in the way scientists are trained and mentored is required to attract and sustain the interest of people from underrepresented groups in the scientific workforce at all career stages. Toward this end, researchers from Morgan have designed an innovative research training method they named “A Student-Centered Entrepreneurship Development (ASCEND) Training Model.” Unlike apprenticeship models, ASCEND allows students to be creative and take ownership of their training by proposing and selecting their topic of research, developing the research methods, writing small grants and moving the project forward. The model has been tested in international environments with great success. “Morgan has a very good track record of enhancing diversity in the sciences in Maryland and around the 8


“This program will test new models of training and mentoring so that we can ultimately attract the best minds from all groups to biomedical research.” — Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health

NIH NIH Clinical Center, Bethesda, MD country, and this is the goal of the NIH initiative,” said University President David Wilson. “We believe that winning this competitive award is recognition by NIH and others that the best way to bring more minorities into the sciences is with best practices: programs that work. And Morgan has surely proven that it has the ability to show how it is done.” The University will establish a dedicated environment, where student researchers can exchange ideas and enjoy substantial peer support. MSU will also use the BUILD award to strengthen its training and research infrastructure, create active learning centers, improve science curricula and acquire state-of-the-art educational technology, all aimed at providing a highly enhanced training in science and biomedical research. A number of elected officials expressed their support from Morgan’s selection as a BUILD award recipient. “In order to out-build and out-innovate the rest of the world, we must first outeducate,” said U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of MaryMikulski land. Mikulski is vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds NIH, and is an advocate of the BUILD program. “Morgan State is on the front lines of preparing a diverse biotech workforce for in-demand jobs

right here in Maryland. This partnership between NIH and Morgan State, one of Maryland’s and the nation’s great Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is a smart investment in the future of Maryland life science jobs.” “NIH has selected the very best as a partner to foster the next generation of biomedical researchers, scientists and clinicians,” said Cardin U.S. Sen Benjamin Cardin of Maryland. “Diversifying our biomedical workforce will help mitigate many of the inherent disparities of our health care system. I’ve been a proud partner with Morgan State University as they strengthen their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education programs and reach deep into our communities to make a difference in people’s lives.” Said U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland’s Seventh District, a member of Morgan’s Board of Regents: “Promoting diversity in bioCummings medical research ensures that a range of views is always present in the important studies undertaken in this field. This award will support the training of bright young minds who are often underrepresented in biomedical science.”

Morgan’s research partners in the BUILD program are the University of Maryland, the Intramural Program of NIH, Tufts University, Lehigh University and Northeastern University. The award calls for Morgan to receive $2.9 million in the first year and more than $5 million in each of the next four years. Successful execution of the program may allow for a five-year renewal.

Dr. Victor R. McCrary, MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development “The NIH BUILD award affirms Morgan’s commitment to faculty and student research,” said Victor R. McCrary, Ph.D., Morgan’s vice president for research and economic development. “(This research will lead) to innovative outcomes which will transform our Maryland communities as we focus on the future in creating a biomedical workforce with the technical prowess to make critical research contributions to our nation’s challenges.” o MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2015


Leadership Spotlight Adebisi Oladipupo, Sc.D.

Gloria J. Gibson, Ph.D.



Sidney H. Evans Jr.

Three Recent Appointees Lift Morgan’s Administrative Team By Kevin M. Briscoe

Gloria J. Gibson, Ph.D. Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Sidney H. Evans Jr. Vice President, Finance and Management

Adebisi Oladipupo, Sc.D. Chief Information Officer

Meet Gloria J. Gibson, Ph.D. After successful stints in a number of senior administration positions at the University of Northern Iowa, Arkansas State University and Indiana University Bloomington, Dr. Gibson is the new chief academic officer here at Morgan. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in music education from Southern Illinois University and a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University Bloomington.

Since coming on board in October 2014, replacing the long-serving Raymond C. Vollmer, who retired, Sidney H. Evans Jr. has had a singular focus as Morgan’s new vice president for Finance and Management.

Adebisi (“Bisi”) Oladipupo, Sc.D., brings a wealth of experience to his new role as Morgan’s chief information officer. The Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics he earned from the University of Ife in his home country of Nigeria, in 1980, and his graduate degrees in materials engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, launched and boosted his professional career. Mile markers on that journey include positions in government, with the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Departments of Defense and Commerce; in the private sector, with IBM Corporation, Lucent Technologies and Motorola, Inc.; and in academia, with Norfolk State University and Hampton University.

On board since January, Dr. Gibson is responsible for the execution, implementation and assessment of academic programs across the campus. “HAVING WORKED (IN) VARIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS, I BELIEVE I BRING A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE RELATED TO ACADEMICS AND LEADERSHIP TO THE TABLE,” DR. GIBSON SAYS. Her appointment to the post was the result of an exhaustive search by a 20member committee composed of faculty, administration, staff and students. During this process, her candidacy for the position rose to the top, as the committee determined her great value to the mission of the University and her clear ability to help set its direction. “The (University’s) strategic plan is strong,” says Dr. Gibson. “In discussing it during the (search process)…I felt confident that I could work collaboratively under the leadership of the president to move the needle.”

“THE CHALLENGE FOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, WRIT LARGE, IS TO HAVE A LONG-TERM SUSTAINABLE FINANCIAL PLAN,” SAYS EVANS, WHO HAS SERVED IN SIMILAR POSITIONS AT BOTH HOWARD UNIVERSITY IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND DILLARD UNIVERSITY IN NEW ORLEANS. “I WOULD HOPE THAT MY EFFORTS, AND THOSE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CABINET, ADVANCE MORGAN AS AN URBAN RESEARCH UNIVERSITY WITH A SUSTAINABLE FINANCIAL POSITION GOING INTO THE FUTURE.” In his new role as safe-keeper of the University’s assets, Evans says, he is still in the “assessment stage of my management portfolio,” looking for ways to enhance how the University does business, including improving and sustaining infrastructure and operational processes and growing Morgan’s resources. In addition to his more recent service in university finances, Evans’ career includes work as a commercial banker with Citibank and Wachovia. He holds a B.A. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.B.A. from the Katz School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh and an investment certification from Harvard Business School.

In addition, he is certified in higher education management by Harvard University and is a developer of computer applications for self-paced learning and distance learning. He is using the technical acumen he has acquired along the way to maximize Morgan’s technological capabilities. “TECHNOLOGY IS EMBEDDED IN EVERYTHING WE DO. IT IS A THREAD IN THE FABRIC OF BUSINESS,” SAYS DR. OLADIPUPO. “THEREFORE, I WANT TO REPOSITION INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AS A SERVICE ORGANIZATION ON CAMPUS. ONE OF MY GOALS IS TO CONDUCT IT ASSESSMENTS TO GAUGE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF OUR SYSTEMS, TO VIEW THE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE ROBUST AND SUPPORT THE NEEDS OF THE UNIVERSITY.”



Writing in Color

MSU Graduates Bring Diversity to Children’s Literature By Donna M. Owens

When Heddrick McBride and his wife became proud parents in 2008, the new father was eager to share the power of books with his little girl. “I would read to my daughter on a nightly basis,” recalls McBride, 37, a Queens, N.Y., native. “But I realized a lot of the books for children of color were outdated, or they didn’t reflect the cultural diversity of the world we live in today.” So McBride, who earned a political science degree from Morgan State University in 2003, decided to write his own multicultural children’s books. “I did my research, and it’s been very grassroots,” he explains. “I learned that a lot of what the publishing companies did was marketing. I knew plenty of people and figured I could learn the ins and outs of the industry. “It’s hard in the beginning,” he adds, “because you’re investing all of your money. But it pays off.” In 2012, McBride self-published his first title, “Parkville High,” which dealt with



youngsters who have developmental disabilities. He drew upon his professional background as a human services counselor and administrator who has worked with youth and adults in foster care, group homes and other settings.

“We have successfully published 46 books in our first few years,” says McBride, who is the company’s CEO and lead author. He’s also partnered with fellow Morgan graduates: experts in their fields who provide content. (See the sidebar on page 13.)

“The theme of the book is, ‘Don’t judge people with disabilities. They’re just like us inside,’ ” he says. “No matter our differences, the heart and mind are the same.”

“These are college friends and associates. They’re all successful people doing their thing,” he explains. “I think it’s important that graduates of HBCUs align ourselves with each other, because together we can have a major impact.”

Buoyed by positive reaction to that inaugural effort, the entrepreneur subsequently launched McBride Collection of Stories, LLC in 2013. The company provides diverse children’s literature that seeks to educate, entertain and motivate readers between the ages of 3 and 14.

College Friends and Associates The softcover books feature brightly colored illustrations and fun titles such as, “I Am a Princess” and “The Private Eye Five.” They address an array of topics: African culture, self-esteem, how to deal with bullying, business advice for kids, and more.

Although many of McBride’s collaborators are Morgan alumni, not all are affiliated with the University. The group of writers includes at least one celebrity author. McBride, who attended Morgan on a basketball scholarship from 1997 to 2000 and was a point guard on the team, has partnered with fellow New Yorker and former NBA player Ron Artest, now known as “Metta World Peace.” Together, they’ve cowritten six books, ranging from bedtime tales to “Metta’s World Peace and Love Stories,” the latter of which was featured when the star ath-

Alumni Authors

Heddrick McBride

Heddrick McBride, a 2003 Morgan graduate, launched McBride Collection of Stories, LLC in 2013 to entertain and inspire children. The author has joined forces with fellow alumni, who share their expertise with the company. Take a look:

Kenji Jackson

• Howard C. Perkins III (Class of 2004) and Kenji Jackson (Class of 2001) are both educators in the Baltimore City Public Schools. Perkins, a special education teacher, has written a children’s book that focuses on educating families about autism. Jackson, a devoted dad, has penned two books that teach families about the importance of a father in a young man’s life. • Jhoskesia Manigault (Class of 2003) is a social studies teacher who has written a children’s book to build awareness and acceptance of military families.

Jhoskesia Manigault

lete appeared on the CBS television sitcom, “The Millers.”

Filling a Void McBride Collection of Stories has been spotlighted by media outlets that include the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, ESPN’s SportsNation and Time Warner Sports.

• Nicole M. White (Class of 2002) is an economist and lead business analyst at The MITRE Corporation. She is also a professional makeup artist who has written a children’s book to educate young girls about self-esteem and proper makeup use. Nicole M. White

The publisher, an avid bibliophile himself, is equally proud that his books are being read by students at schools in New York City, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Atlanta. The books have also found an international audience, among readers in South Africa and St. Maarten. “Literacy rates for children of color are lower than they should be,” says McBride. “If you can initiate a child’s reading early on, they’re on the way.” o

• Tara Doaty-Mundell, Ph.D. (Class of 2002) is the founder and lead consultant of Sage Wellness Group LLC. She has written a book to help children deal with troubling issues such as peer pressure and bullying.

Tara Doaty-Mundell, Ph.D.

• Adewole Lipede (Class of 2001) is an actor and television producer in Los Angeles, Calif., who has written a book to educate children about African culture.

The McBride collection can be found online at


Adewole Lipede




Business Ownership, the Wright Way By Cindy Atoji It’s like, “McWow”: the bustling, pristinely clean McDonald’s in Norwood, Mass., gets rave reviews for its service and amenities. Pull through the efficient drive-through, and you can get an artisan-grilled chicken sandwich with piping hot coffee and a smile from the employee in the booth. It’s not likely that many of the customers at this busy location think about the logistics of running such a clockwork operation: it takes business acumen, people skills and a can-do, “roll-up-your-sleeves and work” attitude. All of these describe Paula L. Wright, Morgan State College Class of 1964, who along with her late husband, Donald Wright, built an award-winning McDonald’s franchise group known for its inviting restaurants and investing in its employees. Their restaurant chain near Boston has been recognized by the corporation for being among its best, and the Wrights are trailblazers, being the first African Americans to have a McDonald’s franchise in New England. Paula Wright, 71, now owns eight McDonald’s restaurants in the suburbs as well as four travel plazas on the Massachusetts Turnpike that are each anchored by a McDonald’s restaurant. The thriving plazas also include Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Honey Dew Donuts, Original Pizza of Boston and Fresh City restaurants, also run by Wright, who provides jobs for 1,000 people within her enterprise. Her son, Donnie, 38, who grew up watching his parents develop their expanding business, is himself the owner and operator of three McDonald’s franchises in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. And when his father suddenly passed away two years ago, Donnie stepped in to fill 14


the management gap, helping his mother with more of the operational duties. Although the Wrights’ restaurants and their team of employees have received numerous honors over the years, they are proudest of the prestigious Golden Arch Award, given to the top 1 percent of franchisees around the globe. The Golden Arch recognizes community involvement, an outstanding dedication to customer service, exceptional achievement in meeting business goals and a strong commitment to developing employees. Paula Wright excels in all of these criteria, including the latter, having nurtured and mentored the more than 20,000 people who have worked for her family over two decades. Those include employees who stayed with the brand — attending McDonald’s Hamburger University and becoming management-level leaders — or who moved on to new careers. “We have so many success stories, including multi-generations of families who have worked with us,” says Wright. “Our employees are our family, and this loyalty makes a big difference.”

McImpact Wright launched her professional career as a programmer at IBM Corporation immediately after graduating from Morgan, and she moved up the ladder, becoming a systems engineering manager and then a branch manager. But after two decades at the Fortune 500 company, she and her husband, a federal government employee, decided to be entrepreneurs. They explored different businesses,

including franchises, and were impressed with the training and support McDonald’s offered. About 90 percent of the more than 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. are owned by independent franchisees like the Wrights. Paula says she is totally committed to the business and has personally done every task, from cleaning the tables to working the drive-through to cooking the fries. She laughs, adding, “I’ll never be as fast in doing these (jobs) as the kids are today.” Like her late husband, Paula believes in “paying it forward.” She is president of the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern New England, which supports programs that improve the health and well-being of children. She also supports organizations dedicated to minority development and education and is, of course, a major donor to Morgan State University. In her free time, she’s active with Divas Uncorked, a wine education and advocacy group. Wright says people ask her whether she really does eat McDonald’s food. “Of course,” she says. “I could eat there every day — sometimes twice a day.” On the day when we spoke to her, she had an Egg White Delight McMuffin for breakfast and a Ranch Snack Wrap for lunch. She also knows what sparkling wine goes best with the fries. “I’m proud of the food, the jobs we create, the people we have nurtured over the years, our impact on the community,” Wright says. “This is truly a family business that has grown with us over the years.” o



On the Front Line Against Ebola

Two Morgan Alumni Answered the Call During a Global Humanitarian Emergency By Ferdinand Mehlinger

Cmdr. Jyl Woolfolk, Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service; Co-valedictorian, MSU Class of ’99, biology; George Washington University, M.P.H., Class of ’01 16


Lt. Cmdr. Tanya Grandison, Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service; MSU Class of ’96, biology; MSU Class of ’02, M.P.H.

When a 2-year-old Guinean child named Emile Ouamouno died on Dec. 6, 2013, no one knew he would become known as “Patient Zero” in an ensuing disaster that devastated the region and transfixed the world. There had been outbreaks of Ebola in Africa before, but this episode, as it angrily erupted onto the world stage in 2013 and 2014, seemed to have been birthed from the Book of Daniel and weaned on the prophecy of Revelation. News feeds circled the globe reporting the mounting casualties. As the body count escalated, entire families were decimated. Many who survived were stigmatized, orphaned or left fending for themselves. The three countries hardest hit were Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Liberia’s Harvard-educated president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, saw her country almost brought to its knees as its export markets tumbled and foreign investors fled. With

Monrovia, Liberia

vaccines still fictional and no cure in sight, fear spread across the globe, and a xenophobic paralysis threatened to shut down international transportation hubs. In what was initially an unpopular decision, President Obama stepped up to the challenge of arresting the fear, by announcing in September 2014 that a U.S. military mission would be launched to tackle the epidemic at its source. “With all the knowledge, all the medical talent, all the advanced technologies at our disposal, it is unacceptable if, because of lack of preparedness and planning and global coordination, people are dying when they don’t have to,” he told health officials from dozens of countries at a White House meeting, 10 days later. Facing a critical shortage of medical volunteers in September, the Department of Defense deployed the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU), staffed by the elite uniformed officers of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The USPHS, with its 6,700 full-time, highly qualified public health professionals, is dedicated to serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations domestically and abroad. The 25-bed critical care MMU, located in Liberia’s capital, assured a high level of care to healthcare workers and other responders to the Ebola epidemic, giving them the additional confidence to join the fight. Continued on page 18



Roll call for the United States Public Health Service officers and staff

Continued from page 17 ‘Different for Us’ Among those responding to the global call for help were two Morgan alumni, Cmdr. Jyl Woolfolk and Lt. Cmdr. Tanya Grandison, commissioned officers in the USPHS. Both were seasoned public health professionals with Master of Public Health degrees — Woolfolk from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Grandison from Morgan State University — but neither expected to make the final for the Liberia mission, because of their lack of experience in direct patient care.

would include four teams of commissioned officers serving consecutive twomonth rotations. Cmdr. Woolfolk was selected for Mission One, October through December 2014, and Lt. Cmdr. Grandison joined Mission Two, December 2014 through February 2015.

setting up the hospital. We were all sitting around on the floor gathered around my Blackberry on speakerphone, with everyone else setting up their devices around mine to record what came out of my speakerphone, and we were all really pumped about it.

Lt. Cmdr. Grandison, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology as well as her Master of Public Health degree from Morgan, was serving as a public health analyst for the Health Resources and Services Administration and was in a training class when she received word of her selection.

“It was an honor to have my phone be the one that rang. And picking it up and hearing, ‘Cmdr. Woolfolk, please hold for the president.’: there is nothing like that feeling in the world. He is an amazing man to talk to. He had nothing but kind and encouraging words for many of the people on my team, many (of whom) had children that were his daughters’ ages…. The president said that our efforts being the first on the ground were going to have a serious impact…and set the tone for our presence (in Liberia). It gave us the fuel and the motivation to move forward.”

“There had been a call-out survey to all the officers inquiring about availability and expected roles and responsibilities while on deployment,” Cmdr. Woolfolk recalls. “I entered that my primary roles had been administration, finance and health education…. I did my due diligence in responding to the call. But I did not think I would be selected, because I did not have any experience in international deployment missions, and I thought this would be a heavy clinical mission.”

“This mission was different for us. We certainly thought that clinicians would be the first-priority call,” she says. “My only fear was eating MREs every day and losing weight if I didn’t eat them at all,” she adds, referring to the U.S. military’s “meals, ready-to-eat” field rations.

Despite their predictions, Woolfolk and Grandison indeed were selected for the U.S. military’s Ebola mission, which

“The call came in after (we) had been there for a week. We weren’t even fully operational, yet we were in the process of



Changing of the Guard: Cmdr. Woolfolk (left) and Lt. Cmdr. Grandison greet each other at the Monrovia Medical Unit in Liberia. “The day before the change of command ceremonies, where each team passed the battalion to the other team, I saw Jyl and said, ‘They called you, too?!’ ” Grandison says.

‘Motivation to Move Forward’ Nov. 5, 2014 brought a welcome surprise to Mission One: a call from President Obama. Cmdr. Woolfolk explains:

Critical Tasks In her role as chief administrator for the MMU, Cmdr. Woolfolk was responsible for knowing the whereabouts of each team member at all times. The Ebola missions relied heavily on the “buddy system” to ensure safety and accountability. Cmdr. Woolfolk was also in charge of coordinating the digital tracking and documen-

Cmdr. Jyl Woolfolk (center) in operational dress uniform, during training exercises at base camp.

tation of daily patient data, including vital signs, laboratory results, medication orders and disease progression. She managed responses to data calls for situational reports, public messages and information requests from international partners, including Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Her team also provided logistical support in the areas of information technology, medical unit construction and directional signage. Aside from these primary duties, Cmdr. Woolfolk spent time helping personnel don their personal protective equipment. Safety was paramount, and even though the methods seemed draconian at times, the strict protocols kept the mortality rate down. “My other daily role was making sure that our ‘all hands on deck’ calls were met involving the transfer of patients and sometimes lending an extra hand when we needed to move bodies,” Cmdr. Woolfolk says. “…the job no one wants to have to do.” “Our infection control team was responsible for waste disposal and management,” she explains. “We had three incinerators going at all times, and we burned anything that was contaminated by a patient, including cellphones and, in one

“We had the ‘survivor wall,’ for people who became our indicators of success…. The recovered patients would put their hand in yellow paint and put it on a blue wall.” — Lt. Cmdr. Tanya Grandison

case, even a Bible. One of our colleagues gave the patient his own Bible as a replacement.”

barriers and encourage (people) to disclose information, because it is absolutely critical.”

Along with treating patients and healthcare workers exposed to the virus was the very important task of “contact tracing” in the race to prevent further outbreaks. Several of Cmdr. Woolfolk’s PHS colleagues who were stationed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were charged with monitoring this process: performing the detective work to find how patients first encountered the virus and others who may have been infected by their contact.

Given the circumstances around the safety precautions, the team’s clinicians faced many challenges and limitations in providing care. “Compounding this was the heartrending foundation of the MMU mission: our patients became ill in the process of providing selfless service to heal others,” says Cmdr. Woolfolk. “This harsh reality was difficult to process.” Amidst the sorrow of sickness and death, there were also many stories of unconditional love.

Love and Survival Cmdr. Woolfolk describes some of the societal hurdles faced by healthcare providers as well as the patients, such as the stigma many associated with Ebola. Cultural competency with the values and traditions the population holds dear was critical to achieving positive healthcare outcomes, she explains.

“Liberians are very family-oriented,” says Lt. Cmdr. Grandison. “We saw patients brought in by relatives who were caring for them, and before you knew it, that relative came in with the virus. I saw a sister taking care of her brother who had become ill, and before you knew it, she returned as a patient.”

“The stigma was formidable. There are a lot of misconceptions about the disease. There is the fear, the lack of education, and numerous myths, so you definitely need to know your audience and establish trust in order to break down those

“When Team Two came, we had the ‘survivor wall,’ for people who became our indicators of success. It was a wall placed at the end of the MMU, where any patient that came through had to exit…. The recovered patients would put their Continued on page 20 MORGAN MAGAZINE VOLUME I 2015


Cmdr. Woolfolk gives an ‘arm bump’ greeting to a sorority sister in Liberia.

MSU Hall of Famer Robert S. Smith (Class of 1941) was a major factor in Cmdr. Woolfolk’s decision to attend Morgan. “I knew I was going to Morgan since I was a kid growing up in Paterson, N.J.,” she says. “My grandfather was recruited from our hometown by Coach Edward Hurt, so we have a family legacy there. My sister Staci Woolfolk Carrera is a ’94 graduate of Morgan.”

“Right before I left, I asked for prayers from my congregation. We worked 12- to 14-hour shifts, and I was able to maintain a positive attitude. I believe the covering of my church family and my faith in God kept me grounded.” — Lt. Cmdr. Tanya Grandison

Continued from page 19 hand in yellow paint and put it on a blue wall. …Blue and yellow are the colors of the (U.S. Public Health Service).” Power of Faith Both Woolfolk and Grandison placed emphasis on the power of faith to pull them through the difficulties of the mission, both before, during and after deployment. Woolfolk was raised Episcopalian in Paterson, N.J., and Grandison grew up as a Baptist in Baltimore. “I have to say that the power of prayer is very important,” Cmdr. Woolfolk says. “We had a pharmacist on our team who doubled as our chaplain. And we had services every Sunday, and we said prayers when a patient passed on. We had prayer vigils for patients who are no longer with us. I was sent out with a prayer box which I did not open until our first patient passed on…. It was then that I knew that I needed it the most, having that as my armor and protection. Also, being welcomed back with open arms by my faith community here in Washington has been invaluable in validating my faith as a God-fearing and God-serving woman. It pushes you forward and reignites that faith that you have.” “Right before I left, I asked for prayers from my congregation,” says Lt. Cmdr. Grandison. “We worked 12- to 14-hour shifts, and I was able to maintain a posi20


tive attitude. I believe the covering of my church family and my faith in God kept me grounded. In Liberia at the MMU, we would have Bible study once a week on Wednesday, and it really helped to talk things out. It was a good feeling, a good thing.”

Positive Outcomes The fourth U.S. military team has now completed its deployment, as the epidemic has subsided and the public health situation in the region has been stabilized. The Liberian government is now operating the Ebola Treatment Units set up by the U.S. Cmdr. Jyl Woolfolk and Lt. Cmdr. Tanya Grandison selflessly answered their nation’s call and volunteered for a mission many feared: going into the heart of an epidemic of an incurable disease in a foreign land under extreme circumstances. There were no guarantees that either would return unscathed or even return at all.

“It was an honor to have my phone be the one that rang. And picking it up and hearing, ‘Cmdr. Woolfolk, please hold for the president.’: there is nothing like that feeling in the world.”

The commitment of these two Morgan alumni to Liberia and their profession not only saved lives. It also helped train more healthcare professionals in-country and helped create a sense of urgency to accelerate research trials for an effective vaccine to prevent future outbreaks. Woolfolk and Grandison helped turn the tide of an escalating global epidemic. Their bravery and their service also helped galvanize the Global Health Security Agenda for future health emergency responses in disease control and prevention. “There are multiple legs to this mission and many moving parts that are still going on as we move forward,” says Cmdr. Woolfolk, and “while we no longer have a presence in that regard, a nurse colleague who served with me at the MMU later returned to Liberia with a different deployment hat on behalf of the National Institutes of Health: conducting the research angle of the response. “Our greatest joy was to see two patients return to the MMU after their successful discharges and join our effort through the remainder of the mission,” Cmdr. Woolfolk continues. “Although the MMU team’s chapter has come to a close, we hope that through these and other dedicated, valiant warriors, we have left Liberia with a legacy of hope that will inspire future heroes in the war against disease.” o

Commencement 2014–2015 Obama Appointees Address MSU Graduates Two high-level officials of the Obama administration were on the Morgan State University campus this past Dec. 19 for the second December Commencement exercises in the school’s history. Three hundred seventy students were awarded bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees during the celebration, which was held in the University’s Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center. Julián Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), addressed the degree candidates, telling them that Morgan had prepared them well for their careers and citing the success of Morgan alumni at HUD. Castro implored the soon-to-be graduates to reach out to help others achieve the American Dream, to focus on their personal truth rather than their job titles, to be lifetime learners and to be bold in their endeavors. Julián Castro, U.S Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Also in attendance was Carolyn Watts Colvin, acting secretary of the Social Security Administration. Secretary Colvin, a Morgan graduate, Classes of 1971 and 1973, received an honorary doctorate at the event.

Morgan degree candidates cross Welcome Bridge



Commencement 2014–2015 Spring Exercises Honor Nelson Mandela The 139th Spring Commencement exercises of Morgan State University honored the life and legacy of the late Nelson Mandela, legendary president of the Republic of South Africa, and featured as guest speaker Mandela’s widow, the Honorable Graça Simbine Machel, chancellor of the University of Cape Town and a revered, longtime activist for human rights in Mozambique, South Africa and around the globe. Other special guests at the ceremony included Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, the Republic of South Africa’s ambassador to the U.S., and Eduardo Zaqueu, minister counselor from the Embassy of the Republic of Mozambique in the U.S. and Canada. “You have been blessed with an exceptional education,” Machel said during her address. “I…urge you to use it wisely and apply the learnings you gained here to your personal life, at your workplace, in your communities and in your countries to make a difference.” For many of the more than 850 degree candidates seated before her on the field at Hughes Stadium, Machel’s words came as an inspiring coda to a message already instilled in them by their experiences at Morgan. There was Sabriya Dennis, from Fayetteville, N.C. A veteran public health professional, she had tired of seeing children come into the psychiatric hospital where she worked, having problems she felt should have been prevented before the children were in crisis. She came to Morgan to get her doctorate in public health because of the program’s focus on community engagement and involvement and now feels prepared to help advance her profession.

Human rights activist Graça Machel

There was Brendan Steele, summa cum laude graduate of Morgan’s bachelor’s degree program in biology. Born in Baltimore and raised in Harford County, Md., he’s applying to medical schools in hopes of becoming an emergency room physician. His dream job is to work at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma

Graduates at last: MSU Class of 2015 members show off their new degrees



Center. He chose Morgan because he loves its diversity and believes his diverse experience at the University will help him in the medical field. There was Denise Simmons Graves, a professor at Montgomery College in Rockville, Md., who has 25 years’ experience working at community colleges. From Louisville, Ky., she already had a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and master’s degrees from Indiana University and Towson University when she came to Morgan. With the doctorate in education she received this May from MSU, “I’m an expert in my field, recognized now, and my intention is to create a nonprofit focused on community college transfer students and their scholarship needs.” There was Keith Washington, who came to Morgan from Baltimore City College high school and earned his bachelor’s degree in information systems from Morgan’s School of Business and Management. At Morgan, he said, he “worked smart,” had all of the tools to learn and reaped the benefit of the effort he put into his education. He was slated to start working as a business analyst at Computer Sciences Corporation in Falls Church, Va., this past July, he reported. There was Caroline Schroeder, who was at the ceremony to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in architecture and environmental design and was already working toward her master’s in architecture in MSU’s School of Architecture and Planning. Born in Baltimore and raised in Harford County, she loves the city, plans to stay in the area and hopes to work in historic preservation or maybe in residential architecture, rehabbing old houses. And there was Richard Onwuchekwa Uba, from Abia State, Nigeria, who fell in love with Morgan while visiting his older sister Florence when she was a student at the University. Another biology major, he has been admitted to the pharmacy school at the University of Notre Dame and intends to come back to Baltimore to work for CVS after he earns his pharmacy

degree. Florence works as a nurse at MedStar Good Samaritan hospital, near Morgan’s campus. The presence of Morgan’s 50th anniversary class, the Class of 1965, dressed in gold-colored robes and seated in the VIP pavilion beside the graduates, reinforced the theme of human and civil rights. Many members of the class were among the Morgan students who launched the sit-in movement in the U.S., with their protests to desegregate public accommodations in Baltimore in the early and mid-1960s. Four honorary degrees were awarded during the ceremony: a Doctor of Public Service degree to Graça Machel, a Doctor of Humane Letters degree posthumously to Nelson Mandela and a Doctor of Science degree to inventor James E. West, now a research professor of electrical and computer engineering at The Johns Hopkins University. Other special honorees included recipients of the University’s top annual awards for graduating seniors: business administration graduate Brian L. Stewart received the President’s Second Mile Award for enhancement of campus life, and Christine Doherty, an architecture and environmental design graduate, received the President’s Creative Achievement Award. After farewell remarks from Senior Class President Saudat Almaroof, Jacqueline L. Lawson, 2011–2015 president of the MSU Alumni Association, presented the Alumna of the Year Award to Beatrice Ross Coker of the Class of 1957, and inducted the new graduates into the association. In his closing remarks, Morgan President David Wilson echoed Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela as he urged the graduates to “dream dreams bigger than those that you had when you entered Morgan State University.… We have urged you to be committed to growing the future and leading the world, because you are indeed (the future). You have the world in your hands.” Morgan awarded 1,225 degrees during the 2014–15 academic year, including a record 58 doctorates. o

Members of Morgan’s Class of 1965


The Patterson Scholars DaQuan Patterson of Waldorf, Md., wanted to be the first in his family to complete college, so he could teach high school English. But by his second semester at Morgan, he was financially drained and planning to drop out and take a job. He had already been deleted from some course rosters for not paying his bills. Then a friend in his education course, Aeysia Whitfield-Hill, told him about a national scholarship program for future teachers that was helping her. She took DaQuan to meet the dean of the School of Education and Urban Studies, Patricia Welch, Ph.D., who heads the program. There was one scholarship left, and Dean Welch offered it to him. The scholarship is worth $6,000 a year for four years. “Without it, I wouldn’t be in college,” says DaQuan, the first of three males among the campus’ 16 Patterson scholars and the only scholar not in elementary educa24


tion. He carried a 3.3 average into second-term finals. The Patterson Scholars Teacher Education Scholarship Program was created by novelist James Patterson, a perennially best-selling author in suspense, and young adult and middle school fiction. The Patterson Family Foundation has spent more than $6 million on scholarships at 24 colleges and universities, including three HBCUs: Morgan State University, Howard University and Tougaloo College. Last year alone, more than 350 students who are committed to teaching received the scholarships.

The Patterson Scholars Teacher Education Scholarship Program was created by novelist James Patterson, a perennially best-selling author in suspense, and young adult and middle school fiction.

The foundation leaves it to the academic institutions to choose the scholarship recipients. Morgan has tapped eight students for the scholarships in each of the past two academic years, basing their selections on academic record in high school, demonstrated interest in teaching, and financial need. Several recipients are the first in their family to attend college. Morgan’s recipients have justified their selection. All are doing satisfactorily academically, and one, sophomore Robin Williams-Boodho of Upper Marlboro, Md., has a 3.8 GPAs.

Vital Support Like DaQuan, nearly all 16 Patterson scholars would have struggled to stay at Morgan without the Patterson funds, Dean Welch says.

Best-selling Author’s Foundation Aids MSU Education Students “Some (Morgan) students come not having the vaguest idea where all their money is coming from,” she says. They cobble together financial help from relatives, churches, fraternal groups and sororities, she says, but it’s not enough. “They’re hoping and praying that they will eventually get enough money through the financial aid process and through other gifts and awards.” The Patterson scholarship does not always suffice. To get by the first year, one recipient had to work at McDonald’s as many as 35 hours a week, and another, Sumera Anjum, a sophomore transfer from Pakistan, has worked at CVS for three years — for 30 to 31 hours a week, this year. She and her husband are raising three young children in Baltimore, yet she carries a 3.44 GPA. Williams-Boodho says what she likes most about the scholarships is knowing she has a support system. She felt alone

in high school. She points to the hourlong monthly meetings the 16 scholars have with Dean Welch, who also sees them one-on-one when asked. “They can talk to me about anything, and they do,” says Dean Welch. Dean Welch’s attention is part of the concentrated effort Morgan has made to support the Patterson scholars. Education professor Henrietta Wright, Ph.D. has been in their corner, and mentoring and tutoring are available to them. They have been introduced to Morgan President David Wilson and had lunch with Morgan’s Board of Regents. Their photo was on the home page of Morgan’s website for weeks, and they were interviewed on campus television.

Williams-Boodho says what she likes most about the scholarships is knowing she has a support system.

By Peter Slavin

The scholars have also grown close, in part by frequently studying together for education and math classes. They have become their own support group. They exchange tips about common courses and professors, and they check on each other frequently. “We’re in constant communication,” notes freshman Aliaya Hendricks of Clinton, Md., another Patterson scholar. “We’re always talking. If someone needs an encouraging word....” “Everyone pushes each other,” she adds. Last year, one of the first scholars was on the verge of leaving for academic reasons. Dean Welch says, “We talked to her for a long time (and) let her stay in the program, and she got it together.” Today, she adds, “She’s doing...much better.” o



Supporting Women in Brass The MSU Alumni Trumpet Scholarship Fund By Donna M. Owens

Trumpet Scholarship recipient Kayla Johnson, MSU Class of 2018

When Patricia Millin arrived at Morgan State University in 2000, her list of possessions included clothing, dorm items and a shiny trumpet. “I’ve been playing since I was a child, and Morgan gave me a partial music scholarship,” explains Millin, 33, who grew up in Baltimore County, Md. “I played in the band until I graduated, and it was a great experience.” Indeed, Morgan’s renowned marching band, nicknamed “The Magnificent Marching Machine,” has long been hailed as a model of musical excellence. Its members, about 150 students who audition to join, regularly perform at MSU football and basketball games and at Homecoming, incorporating Historically Black College and University band tradi-



tions of music, choreography and showmanship. The band has also dazzled audiences at many other events, from NFL match-ups to U.S. presidential inaugurations to the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and even had a cameo in the Chris Rock movie “Head of State.” Besides providing music education, the band is an activity in which members socialize and form bonds. Millin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications in 2003, met fellow band members Erica Hunt, Andrea Contee and Merissa Munford, and the quartet became fast friends.

“We were the only women trumpet players, surrounded by men,” recalls Munford, 31, a New Jersey native who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in 2007. “We took a liking to each other and gave each other support.” Post-college, as the women pursued their careers, they kept in touch. “We starting talking about ways to give back to our alma mater,” says Hunt, 31, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering in 2006. “We also wanted to help youth.”

Morgan State University Alumni Trumpet Scholarship Fund

“The founders of the scholarship fund understand the power of music and how it develops the mind.”

Patricia Millin

Andrea Contee

Erica Hunt

In 2008, the four friends launched the Morgan State University Alumni Trumpet Scholarship Fund. It aims to uplift and encourage the musical arts, while supporting female trumpet players.

“Music is perfect art,” notes Contee, a Baltimore native who earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 2006. “Because of its positive effects, it brings out one’s true creativity.”

“The founders of the scholarship fund understand the power of music and how it develops the mind,” reads their mission statement. “Music teaches students multiplication, how to count beats and to maintain tempo. It builds hand-eye coordination as students read/memorize sheet music while simultaneously playing an instrument.”

The scholarship, designed to help defray band fees, is awarded annually to an “extraordinary” female freshman trumpeter. The candidate must demonstrate financial need and be a member of at least two of MSU’s six bands: the Marching Band, the Symphonic (concert) Band, the Symphonic Winds, the Jazz Ensemble (a 25-piece big band), the Jazz

Merissa Munford

Combo and the Pep Band, also known as the Bear Band. The scholarship recipient is selected by the band director. “Often, alumni of historically black colleges get flack that they don’t give back,” says Hunt. “This is a small token, but it just seems like the right thing to do. Adds Millin, “We’re trying to be leaders (at) the forefront for women. And we challenge other alumni to do the same. It’s amazing how a good deed gets passed on.” o

“We were the only women trumpet players, surrounded by men. We took a liking to each other and gave each other support.” — Merissa Munford, MSU Class of 2007



(left to right) Samantha Prescott, Carmen Fernandez, Minja Rankov and Evely Macedo

International Players Boost MSU Volleyball By Eric Addison

The day is young, but Coach Ramona Riley-Bozier is already focused on winning. Her eyes are set on the goal she has in mind, as she talks about the practice regimen of the Morgan State University Women’s Volleyball Team. “Generally, we start anywhere between 6 and 6:30 a.m.,” she says, during an interview in her office in Hill Field House. “In the off-season, we can only practice eight hours a week, but in-season, we can go six days a week. I always like to be here 30 to 45 minutes prior to the start of practice.… I live 30 minutes away, so this morning I was up at 4:05.” Clearly, the dedication and discipline have paid off for Riley-Bozier, who is now leading Morgan volleyball for a 28th season. The Morgan graduate, Classes of 1989 and 2011, gained her 400th victory two years ago and is the winningest coach



in MSU history. But her definition of winning is broad, she says. “It’s not always about who has the ‘W’ at the end of the match. It’s about improving on things we’ve been working on and coming together as a team. It’s about giving it our all, even when the end result is that the other team wins…. Even off the court, it’s our character, in terms of how we carry ourselves and how people perceive the women’s volleyball team here. To me, that’s us winning, because we are very well-respected.” The search for winning players — via the Internet, phone and in-person contacts — is constant for Riley-Bozier and her staff, the coach reports. And increasingly,

the search is global. Morgan’s 2014 volleyball squad included four international students: Carmen Fernandez, from Bayamon, Puerto Rico; Evely Macedo, from Fortaleza, Brazil; Samantha Prescott, from Trinidad and Tobago; and Minja Rankov, from Nova Sad, Serbia. Prescott, Macedo and Fernandez, all seniors, are expected to start for the team this year. Fernandez will be a team captain.

Three of the international players — Fernandez, Macedo and Rankov — decided on Morgan after Riley-Bozier reached out to them at the junior colleges they were attending in the U.S. Riley-Bozier learned about Prescott through a contact in the Caribbean region and began recruiting her when Prescott was 16. The international players have adjusted to the faster-paced U.S. style of the game and have blended well into the MSU volleyball family, reports RileyBozier, who has her own experience as a cultural newcomer. She was born in Kansas City, Mo., and came to Morgan as an undergraduate transfer student from the University of Missouri. Making the transition from being a standout athlete in predominantly white institutions to a two-sport star (volleyball and track) at an HBCU was a challenge, she admits. Her Morgan track coach,

Leonard Braxton, helped her meet that challenge with his tough love. He pushed her to be her best as an athlete and later hired her as Morgan’s volleyball coach, despite her lack of experience in coaching. Today, she tells her international players, “ ‘You guys are thinking you’re foreign, but the players who come here from the West Coast, this is foreign to them, too.’ I tell them, ‘It’s not just you. All of us are learning from each other, where we’re from, how to communicate.’ ” The presence of the international players has helped connect the students on Morgan’s campus, RileyBozier says. For example, having engineering major Evely Macedo on the team has brought Morgan’s Brazilian students to the volleyball games. The squad is doing well academically and is continuing to exceed its goal of 3.0 for the team GPA, Riley-Bozier

reports. Minja Rankov, who recently changed her major from business to economics, has a GPA of 4.0. Looking forward to the 2015 season, Riley-Bozier says the team’s prospects are good, with six returning seniors, including five probable starters. But whatever the outcome, the coach says, she plans to continue developing winners. “I’m not going to look at where they’re from or who’s in their family. I want to push every single athlete I have to get the most from them,” she says. “The goal is to make them better people, while we’re also making them better volleyball players. That is ultimately what I want to be known for.” o



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Morgan Magazine 2015, Vol. 1