Norfolk State University BEHOLD Magazine

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Special edition: Contents

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President's Message Profile Paul I. Adams Pens "Behold"

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MeaC ChaMPions NSU Rules the MEAC

artistry at work Valenté Frazier: Portrait of a Makeup Artist

aluMni: know&tell A Perfect Mix: Friends Kelcey Newman and Andreas Branch Mix Friendship and Business

futurealuMni aluMniBriefs

The successes and accomplishments of Black men are often overshadowed by the stark and dire statistics slung daily at us at every turn. This issue of BEHOLD is dedicated to successful Black men — those who graduated between 1990 and 2012 and even a couple who are on the cusp of graduation in 2013. — BEHOLD!

Making Black Male achieveMent viSiBle

Photo By David B. HollingsWorth

President’s Message

Dear Friends, Last year, I wrote an editorial about the state of educational attainment for African Americans in Hampton Roads. Because this remains a timely and critical issue, I felt compelled to share an updated version with you in this edition of BeHoLD magazine. Before I do, let me encourage you to read the fall 2012 issue from cover-to-cover because first, it is a great read, and, second, it recognizes young African-American men who are proving that educational attainment is not insurmountable in Hampton Roads. At NSU, African-American male leaders are part of a growing body of young graduates who are rapidly becoming the public face for a new generation of leaders. These young adults are making a difference in the communities they serve all because they believe in the great equalizer— educational attainment. Much work remains to be done to ensure Dr. TOny ATWATEr that all have access to a great education regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality. I invite you to join me as we work to improve educational opportunities for the next generation of Spartan scholars!


BEHOLD fall 2012

a magazine with global Reach

the word “BEHOLD” is often used by those who love norfolk State. it sums up the excellence of the University and pride felt for it. that is why when it came to naming your magazine–featuring alumni and their achievements as well as the accomplishments and progress taking place at norfolk State—“BEHOLD,” easily came to mind.

Dr. tony atWater PrEsiDEnT OF nOrFOLk sTATE uniVErsiTy

BoarD of visitors 2012-2013 henry D. light Christel l. leWis lloyD Banks, Jr. thoMas n. CheWning stanley green, Jr. lula B. hollanD, Col (ret) Julien g. patterson

There is a quiet crisis unfolding across America, and it is the shaky and precarious state of educational attainment for African Americans. This crisis is not only a problem for African Americans, for it poses a serious threat to the nation’s economic standing and competitiveness in the global market place. The crisis was described by Dr. James V. Koch last year at the Twelfth Annual State of the Region breakfast. According to Dr. Koch, the unemployment rate for African-American men between 2007 and 2009 in the region jumped from 9.1 percent to 17.5 percent. While the achievement of a college degree may not be the biggest factor in this finding, it appears to contribute to the unemployment dilemma faced by African Americans. In his book entitled “Kids Don’t Want to Fail,” Dr. Angel L. Harris, who delivered an exceptional presentation during my inaugural activities last March, shines the light on the black-white achievement gap in America. He notes that this disparity begins at the kindergarten level, and it escalates through elementary, junior high school and high school grades. Harris stated in a radio interview on National Public Radio that the average African-American 12th grader possesses the academic skill set of the average eighth grader in America. These reports, among many others, are telling our nation that it is time to address the crisis “head-on,” and if we don’t, cOnTinuED On PAGE 9


BeholD Magazine • fall 2012

Byron l. Cherry, sr., Col (ret) D. MyChael DiCkerson eDWarD l. haMM, Jr. peter J. kao WaDe W. perry, Jr.

presiDent’s CaBinet kiM luCkes sanDra J. DeloatCh gregory a. Davis eDWarD M. Willis stephen l. MCDaniel Cheryl Bates-lee terriCita e. sass JaMes t. Walke


VicE rEcTOr sEcrETAry

paMela f. Boston DeBorah C. fontaine paula gentius

ExEcuTiVE VicE PrEsiDEnT cHiEF OPErATing OFFicEr PrOVOsT AnD VicE PrEsiDEnT AcADEmic AFFAirs inTErim VicE PrEsiDEnT FinAncE & ADminisTrATiOn inTErim VicE PrEsiDEnT sTuDEnT AFFAirs inTErim VicE PrEsiDEnT uniVErsiTy ADVAncEmEnT AssisTAnT VicE PrEsiDEnT uniVErsiTy rELATiOns AssisTAnT VicE PrEsiDEnT EnrOLLmEnT mAnAgEmEnT inTErim AssisTAnT VicE PrEsiDEnT insTiTuTiOnAL rEsEArcH AnD PLAnning uniVErsiTy cOunsEL cHiEF OF sTAFF AssisTAnT TO THE PrEsiDEnT FOr PArTnErsHiPs AnD uniVErsiTy OuTrEAcH

aluMni assoCiation exeCutive CoMMittee gregory o. griMes, roBert e. holMes, Donnell C. parhaM thelMa Burns-BynuM, Darlene Walker, patriCe Johnson, Mia a. WooD, shelvee osBorne, Col. JaMes WooD, Curtis hurDle,

’86 ’71 ’81 ’81 ’80 ’91 ’90 ’79 ’72 ’62

PrEsiDEnT FirsT VicE PrEsiDEnT sEcOnD VicE PrEsiDEnT TrEAsurEr FinAnciAL sEcrETAry rEcOrDing sEcrETAry cOrrEsPOnDing sEcrETAry immEDiATE PAsT PrEsiDEnT cHAPLAin PArLiAmEnTAriAn (ATTEnDED)

BeholD staff Cheryl Bates-lee MiChelle D. hill, ’96 stevalynn aDaMs regina lightfoot Christopher setzer

AssisTAnT VicE PrEsiDEnT uniVErsiTy rELATiOns DirEcTOr, ALumni rELATiOns mArkETing DEsign AnD cOmmunicATiOns mAnAgEr cOmmunicATiOns & mArkETing PrAcTiTiOnEr AssisTAnT crEATiVE DEsignEr

BEHOLD is published twice a year by the Office of Communications and Marketing. Contact Cheryl Bates-Lee: | Call us: 757.823.8373 Fax: 757.823.9206


Adams Composes An Outstanding Anthem hen the mighty Spartan Legion marching band makes its entrance it often plays a bold, powerful musical piece titled—what else but— “Behold the Green and Gold.” It’s unmistakable. The composing of that musical piece was synergistic. When Paul I. Adams came to Norfolk State in 1974 as the associate director of bands, he often would talk with his music department colleague Dr. Carl Haywood, author of Norfolk State’s Alma Mater. The two would discuss their experiences and especially the traditions held dear by the previous institutions where they worked or where they attended. out of these conversations was born the idea of a grand entry for what was then the Norfolk State College band, which was under the direction of emery Fears. excited about the prospect of developing his signature band piece, Adams decided to use the popular phrase, “Behold the Green and Gold” as the title. “I saw the space, place and need for a grand entry march, and was further inspired to design a composition that naturally should and would musically depict the character of a Spartan,” said Adams, who is now NSU’s interim director of bands. “I then knew that the music had to be bold, powerful, different, developmentally appropriate and easily playable.”


PAuL i. ADAms

“The pride and tradition for which the Spartan Legion is known is alive and well.” — Paul I. Adams, interim director of bands

A BOLD AND POWERFUL ANTHEM The boldness, explained Adams, comes from the trombones which are prominently featured, the powerfulness is conveyed through the trumpets, and the distinctness of the piece is its departure from a traditional march, while the developmental appropriateness and easy playability allow a small band to robustly perform the composition. For listeners, as well as other bands, Adams wanted to make sure that they understood through the music that the Legion was a band characterized by strength, determination and fearlessness. He wanted to evoke a greater sense of pride in the alumni, students and Spartan fans than what he had experienced as a student and seen as chief arranger and assistant director of bands at Southern University. “I could envision, based on my Southwestern Athletic Conference experience, that this was a dynamic opportunity to create the school’s musical brand, and particularly contribute to the band’s success,” said Adams. “At the time, Norfolk State’s popularity was second to none in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.” Fears and Adams used their talents to create the Spartan Legion. Nearly 40 years later, “Behold the Green and Gold,” continues to be played as the band strides onto the field.“The pride and tradition for which the Spartan Legion is known is alive and well,” said Adams. “We, the current NSU Spartan Legion, take pride in the history of the band’s accomplishments and we know that we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us and will strive to maintain the positive momentum and respect for our program.”

fall 2012 • BeholD Magazine



TECHNOLOGY INCITES ENGAGED LEARNING Dr. Rasha Morsi, associate professor of engineering, received the 2012 Outstanding Faculty Award presented by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and Dominion Resources. Dr. Morsi’s recognition is for her work in teaching and technology.

Dr. rAsHA mOrsi

Best Among Faculty for 2012 Honored "







orfolk State University honored its top faculty members in the new Lyman Beecher Brooks Library Rotunda. The faculty members were recognized for their scholarship, teaching, research and service. Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, professor of history, was named the 2012-13 University Professor, the most distinguished award given to faculty. The award incorporates exemplary teaching, research and service. Dr. Dorothy L. R. Jones, professor of business, received the 2012 Distinguished Faculty Award for exemplary Teaching and Dr. Govindarajan Ramesh, professor of biochemistry, received the 2012 Distinguished Faculty Award for exemplary Scholarship. Four other faculty members were recognized with resolutions presented to them by the Norfolk State University Board of Visitors: Dr. Sylinda Gilchrist Banks, associate professor of secondary education and school leadership; Dr. Carl W. Haywood, professor of music; Dr. Rasha Morsi, associate professor of engineering; and Dr. Frances R. Williams, associate professor of engineering.




BeholD Magazine • fall 2012

1. Dr. cassandra newby-Alexander 2. Dr. Dorothy L. r. Jones 3. Dr. govindarajan ramesh 4. Dr. sylinda gilchrist Banks

5. Dr. carl W. Haywood 6. Dr. rasha morsi 7. Dr. Frances r. Williams


Where Beauty Meets Function THE NEW LYMAN BEECHER BROOKS LIBRARY The new 132,000-square-foot Lyman Beecher Brooks Library offers state-of-the-art function encased in a beautiful edifice. Dedicated in March, the library has a three-story, 90-foot-high glass rotunda. The library houses 600,000 volumes, includes the University archives and African Art Gallery, and provides a technologyrich environment with a computer resource lab, e-learning center and internet café. A LEED-Silver certified building—meaning it meets certain cost-efficient and energy-saving standards—the library also includes 50 study rooms, a distance-learning suite and a production studio.

fall 2012 • BeholD Magazine




the MEAC! NORFOLK STATE UNIVERSITY sports had an unprecedented 2011-12, winning six mid-eastern athletic conference (meac) titles. the Spartans won first-ever meac titles in football and men’s basketball and advanced to the ncaa Division 1 postseason play for the first time in both sports. nSU also earned its first-ever postseason victory at the Division 1 level when the men’s basketball team upset no. 3 ranked missouri in the second round of the ncaa west Region.the tournament upset brought a nomination to the Spartans in the “best Upset” category for the 2012 excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (eSPY) awards aired live and nationally on eSPn. besides the football and men’s basketball titles, the Spartans completed a yearly sweep of the men’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track championships for the fourth consecutive year, while the women’s bowling team won its first-ever meac championship. the conference titles gave nSU the most championships in a single academic year since joining the meac in 1997-98. norfolk State went on to end 2011-12 by winning its eighth consecutive talmadge layman hill award, the men’s all-sports trophy. it’s the ninth time overall that nSU has claimed the award, winning it for the first time in 2001. off the field and in the classroom, a record 67 nSU studentathletes were named to the meac commissioner’s all-academic team. in addition, the football team received the academic Progress Rate award from the football championship Subdivision athletics Directors association for the third straight year.


Faculty Receive Grant Awards

NSU Receives Coveted NSF Partnership

Dr. Jessica Parrot, assistant professor in the Nursing and Allied Health Department, was awarded a $100,000 grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a $20,000 grant by the obici Healthcare Foundation. Additionally, Dr. Ashley Haines, assistant professor in the Biology Department, was awarded a $30,000 grant from the Thomas F. and Kate Miller Jefress Memorial Trust in support of chemical, medical and other scientific research. Dr. Aprillya Lanz, associate professor of mathematics, was awarded a research grant by the Mathematical Association of America in the amount of $27,500 for the project period of June 1 through July 31. Dr. Darlene Colson, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Kathryn Simms, research methodologist/statistician for the College of Liberal Arts Research Center, received a $40,000 Spencer Foundation grant for the period April 1, 2012 through August 31, 2014.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is granting Norfolk State University one of its six Partnerships for Research and education in Materials (PReM) awards. The awards, which are for five years, are the result of the 2012 PReM competition and have an annual NSF support of $5.93 million. The Norfolk State University PReM will collaborate with researchers from the University of Michigan's Center for Photonic and Multiscale Nanomaterials, Purdue University and Cornell University to investigate metamaterials—artificial materials that exhibit properties not found in nature. The objective of the PReM program is to broaden participation of underrepresented minorities and enhance diversity in materials research and education. This is accomplished by stimulating the development of collaborative research and education partnerships between minority-serving institutions and NSF's Division of Materials Research-supported facilities.


BeholD Magazine • fall 2012

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WiLLiAm AgyEi

Agyei Named

Fulbright Scholar Dr. William Agyei, professor of sociology, was selected for the Fulbright Scholarship Award during the 2012-2013 academic year. Dr. Agyei will conduct research and teaching with the Department of Population Studies at the University of Botswana. His research work will focus on non-HIV sexually transmitted infections among youth in Botswana.

Kyle O’Quinn Spartan Center Kyle O’Quinn was chosen in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. He was the 49th overall pick. O’Quinn is NSU’s first NBA draftee since 1988. He is also the first draftee from a MEAC school since 1998. O’Quinn became the first player in MEAC history to sweep league Defensive Player of the Year and Player of the Year honors in the same season while helping NSU to a 26-10 record, the school’s most victories since 1994-95. He was also named MEAC Tournament MVP and the Lou Henson Award winner as the nation’s top “mid-major” player. He went on to earn MVP honors at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April.

AMS Chooses Congressional Fellow The American Mathematical Society (AMS) has chosen Dr. Carla D. CotwrightWilliams, assistant professor of mathematics, as its Congressional Fellow for 2012-13. Fellows spend a year working on the staff of a member of Congress or a congressional committee as a special legislative assistant in legislative and policy areas requiring scientific and technical input.

Six Named Arthur Ashe Sports Scholars Diverse: Issues in Higher Education named six NSU women athletes as Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars for the 2011-12 academic year. Marian Brooks, women’s basketball; Jasmine Frazier, women’s volleyball; Naeemah Brooks, women’s tennis; and the trio of Sheila-Marie Smith, Jessica overton and Thea Aspiras, women’s bowling, were honored for their accomplishments in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in their community service aspirations.

Miller Accepts Two Competitive Programs Dr. Carla Miller, professor of sociology, was selected to participate in the 2012 ICPSR Summer Program course on Quantitative Analysis of Crime and Criminal Justice sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. She also was chosen to participate in the emerging Scholars Interdisciplinary Network Fellowship Program in Applied Multi-ethnic Research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. That program is sponsored in conjunction with the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. It provides unique opportunities to further develop integrative research skills and gain valuable career advice from leading senior scholars. Both programs for which Miller was selected are nationally prestigious and competitive.

Dean of Library Services Named Sarah A. Wiggins has been selected as the dean of library services. She was one of four finalists who participated in interviews with a variety of campus constituents. Wiggins has served as a library director for more than 10 years and as a librarian for more than 20 years. She earned the master of library science from the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), and the undergraduate degree in history/political science from Christopher Newport University. She sArAH Wiggins holds certification as a public librarian from the states of New York, North Carolina and Virginia. The dean of library services provides the vision, oversight and direction for the strategic growth of the campus library.

fall 2012 • BeholD Magazine



Legacy Media Institute Students Premiere Film


tudents in the inaugural Legacy Media Institute class showcased their hard work and new-found skills with the debut of their poignant film, “The Least of Us,” at the Institute’s closing ceremony in July. The seven-minute film, which was silent, tells the story of a father who remembers the day that his chronically sick son, who was wearing a leg brace, realized the dream of a lifetime—playing baseball. The boy, who often watched a team of kids his age play, was invited to participate in the last inning of one of their games. He scored the winning home run. Unfortunately, the boy died after his wish came true. In June, NSU President Tony Atwater and NSU alumnus Tim Reid, noted actor, comedian, producer and filmmaker, signed a partnership agreement that provides NSU students with real-world experience in the filmmaking industry e’laina cessions (left), hbcU student, and Kaneshia clark (right), nSU student, participated through the Legacy Media Institute. The Institute is housed in the Department in the legacy media institute. both students are mass communications majors. of Mass Communications and Journalism. Atwater and Reid were on hand to present the students with their certificates of completion. Mass Communications and Journalism Department Chair Dr. Wanda Brockington said that the Institute is exactly what’s needed. “I have long wanted a film component in our curriculum, so this is much more than I ever imagined or hoped for,” she said. “The Institute provides the ‘beyond the classroom’ experience that the academy just can’t duplicate. Tim and his film colleagues provide insight into the real and gritty side of the industry which we need to share with our students.” NSU mass communications major Shimira Cole discovered something about her strengths during the Institute. “I received great advice and reviews from actors James Avery and Tim Reid on a piece I have written,” said Cole. “This impacted me to focus on being a screenwriter rather than a director.” According to Brockington, Reid liked one of her scripts so much that he is interested in developing it into a film. However, Cole doesn’t plan on totally discarding being a director. She plans to pursue directing as a goal further in her future.


Interim Education Dean Selected


Dr. Denise Littleton has been selected as the interim dean of the School of education. Littleton, a professor of elementary education, has also held administrative posts in the School of education as assistant dean and acting dean. Her additional professional experiences include being a public school teacher, a member of the International Reading Association’s national commission and a research associate at the U.S. Department of education. A teacher quality project directed by Littleton in the 1990s for NSU was recognized by then-U. S. education Secretary Dick Riley.

School of Business Leadership Changes


Dr. Bidhu B. Mohanty has been selected as the interim dean for the School of Business. Dr. Mohanty, a professor of accountancy, finance and information management, began his service with Norfolk State University in 1992. He most recently served as associate dean for administration in the School of Business. During his tenure at NSU, he has actively participated on several school and university-wide committees and as chair of the University Curriculum Committee. Dr. Steven Papamarcos, former dean, will join the Business School faculty as the edward L. Brown Professor of Management.

Changes Take Effect in Social Work

NSU Partners With Links

Dr. Rowena Wilson has been appointed interim dean of the ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work. Wilson is among the nation's leading social work educators and scholars. She joined the NSU faculty in 1986 and has served the University in a number of capacities, most recently as associate dean of social work. During her tenure at NSU, she has been honored as an “eminent Scholar;” received an outstanding Community Service Award from the General Assembly of Virginia; and has been recognized by SCHeV rOWEnA WiLsOn for her contributions as an outstanding Virginia faculty member. Dr. Dorothy C. Browne, former dean, is assuming a new position in the Division of Academic Affairs as assistant for special projects.

The Links Inc., a national organization of professional women of color, has undertaken the HBCU Community College Collaborative project, an effort to increase college completion rates for African-American students. Funded by a grant from USA Funds and the Lumina Foundation for education, the project seeks to strengthen ties between community colleges and four-year historically Black colleges and universities. The goal of the program is that 50 percent of participating community college students transfer to the partnering HBCUs and earn a bachelor’s degree. each community college selected for participation will be paired with a local Links Inc. chapter and a nearby HBCU. In some cases there will be two HBCUs involved in a partnership with a particular community college. Norfolk State, along with other institutions, has joined with The Links Inc. in this initiative.


BeholD Magazine • fall 2012


President’s Message

cOnTinuED FrOm PAGE 2

the nation will pay an even higher price than investing in the solution. That higher price will be in increased costs for social programs, prisons and other rehabilitative measures. Federal programs such as “No Child Left Behind” have attacked the educational attainment crisis by investing in higher teaching standards, stronger K-12 academic standards and new instructional technologies in the classroom. While some progress has been made, a key factor in the educational attainment crisis has not been adequately addressed. Family issues and social pathologies represent “the invisible elephant” in the room, and until this elephant is exposed, reckoned with and led gracefully out of the room, the crisis will remain a crisis. As you may know, Norfolk State University has decided to respond strategically and comprehensively to the crisis. Last academic year, under my direction, NSU launched a campus-wide initiative known as the Spartan Crusade for Academic Success (SCAS). This initiative engages every department and college at NSU in directly addressing the educational attainment challenge, firstly in Norfolk and later in the Hampton Roads region. The University will develop and deploy academic support and enrichment programs and activities designed to help students (pre-K through high school) succeed academically and become “college ready.” To achieve this lofty goal, NSU will enlist multiple partners from the private, social and government sectors. We will work closely with our adopted high school, Booker T. Washington High School, and our adopted elementary schools, Lynnhaven elementary and Tidewater Park elementary, to promote academic success among students throughout their academic careers. And, we are confident that the result will be more Norfolk State University students who perform well academically and who graduate within five years. The Bank of America, Dominion Foundation, Norfolk Southern Foundation and the NSU Alumni Association have become the first partners for the Spartan Crusade for Academic Success. There is no question about the resolve of our faculty, staff and administrators about reaching out and investing in the future citizens, professionals and leaders of Hampton Roads. By working to address financial, academic and socio-economic challenges facing our youth in partnership with other committed constituents, NSU believes it can make the seemingly impossible...possible. Please join me as we work to ensure that the impossible becomes possible for an NSU student. Make your gift of support today at

"I AM NSU" buttons will be distributed this semester, kicking off at the Labor Day Classic.

Make Sure You Show Your Love of Alma Mater! GET YOUR BUTTON SOON. Contact Crystal Square-Williams at (757) 823-9164 for additional information on the "I AM NSU" button campaign. Sponsored by the Norfolk State University Foundation, Inc.

Spartan Proud! Dr. Tony Atwater President

fall 2012 • BeholD Magazine


ValentĂŠ Frazier is an internationally known makeup artist who has traveled the world and worked with the best in his industry.

10 SPRING 10 BeholD2012 Magazine


fall 2012



MAKEUP ARTIST Valenté Frazier By rEginA LigHTFOOT


he face is the canvas where Valenté Frazier, ’98, creates his art. An emmy Award-winning makeup artist, Frazier has been called on by celebrities and even First Lady Michelle obama to work his magic on their famous faces. He is the personal makeup artist for supermodel and media mogul Tyra Banks and has worked with supermodel Iman, actor Angela Bassett, and recording artist Rihanna among others. His work has been featured in numerous publications including Elle, Elle Girl, Essence, Harper’s Bazaar, Italian Vogue, Jane and O. And he has traveled internationally to Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Milan and Paris as well as to Australia, Barbados, Brazil, China, South Africa and Thailand. Known and respected in his industry, Frazier recently served as the keynote speaker at the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show in London, the makeup world’s largest industry gathering. But it all started at NSU. Though he is a natural artist, it was at Norfolk State where his love of art and transformation combined to create his passion for makeup artistry. Frazier, who was born and raised in Portsmouth, graduated from NSU with a B.A. in fine art. While at the University, he involved himself in both student life and art. “NSU was a very expressive place during the 1990s,” he said. “Norfolk State was and still is the place for ‛all striving to succeed, forging onward bound to lead,’ as our alma mater states,” continued Frazier with enthusiasm. When he began at Norfolk State, he put his energy and efforts into the Spartan Legion marching band. “During that time, I learned the most about stewardship, loyalty, timeliness, precision, discipline, accountability, cOnTinuED On NEXT PAGE

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teamwork, leadership and pride. These attributes carried over into my chosen discipline.” Although he loved the Spartan Legion dearly, Frazier realized that he needed to concentrate on becoming the best artist he could. He immersed himself in a spectrum of art classes: drawing, fashion illustration, animation and painting. It was the fashion illustration class where he discovered the joy of illustrating faces and fancy hairstyles, which led to his signing up for and being accepted into the highly regarded animation program that Disney and Warner Bros. sponsored at NSU. He took what he learned in animation and applied it to painting. The turning point for him came one day while hanging out with friends at the “new” Barnes and Noble on Virginia Beach Boulevard. “I was browsing through the health and beauty book section and discovered two life changing books: The Art of Makeup by Kevyn Aucoin and Fine Beauty by Sam Fine,” said Frazier. “These books were amazing and these makeup artists’ career stories were amazing and inspirational.” He recognized Fine’s work in Black music videos and beauty publications. Frazier, who hadn’t realized that makeup artistry was a career choice, began practicing on friends.


AN EMMY AWARD-WINNER, Valenté Frazier is makeup artist for Tyra Banks and works with supermodel Iman, among others.

That passion drove him to go after jobs in makeup and emboldened him to network with many of the industry’s top artists. Sometime after graduation, Frazier, who had no retail experience, was able to finesse his way into working as the counter manager for elizabeth Arden Cosmetics at Dillard’s in Greenbrier Mall. But he yearned to be in the thick of things in New York. So he took his experience at Dillard’s and landed a job in New York City at M.A.C. Cosmetics. once he was in New York, a trip to a Bronner Brothers Beauty Show finally gave him the chance to meet the man who helped change his life. He took a master makeup class from Sam Fine and later became his number one assistant. He later assisted as many top makeup artists as he could and also freelanced as a national trainer for Iman Cosmetics, where he met Jay Manuel, Iman’s international makeup artist and creative director. That introduction led to Frazier later assisting Manuel. He broke into the high-profile world of makeup in 2003, when Manuel called him to work on Tyra Banks’ reality television show, “America’s Next Top Model.” Frazier first served as model and show judge Janice Dickinson’s makeup artist. But when Manuel became a creative director on the show, he referred Frazier to do Banks’ makeup. “I’ve been working with her ever since,” he said. Frazier has gone from Norfolk State to New York and throughout the world, but he is still drawn back to NSU. “I’m a sentimental kind of a guy,” he said. “Norfolk State is where I truly discovered who I really was as an individual and an artist. The bond I share with the professors and staff who are still there today shaping the minds and character of current students is unwavering.” And, of course, there is the band. Frazier is a proud member of the Alumni Band Chapter of the NSU Alumni Association. Behold!

Follow Valenté on Facebook or visit for more information.


BeholD Magazine • fall 2012

ValentĂŠ Frazier has also worked with First Lady Michelle Obama.

fall 2012 • BeholD Magazine


Alumni: Know & Tell

Follow Kelcey on Facebook /Twitter or visit for more information. Follow Andreas on Facebook or visit for more information. kELcEy nEWmAn, ’93


BeholD Magazine • fall 2012

AnDrEAs BrAncH, ’96

Alumni: Know&Tell



f it had not been for the friendships they developed and words of encouragement from professors while they were at Norfolk State, Kelcey Newman, ’93, and Andreas Branch, ’96, may not have been able to call NSU their alma mater. Cash strapped, as many college students are, the two thought of inventive ways to survive the forces outside the classroom that could have very well led to their dropping out. “Norfolk State in the early ’90s felt like the TV show Survivor,” said Newman, looking back on those days. “In addition to doing small art freelance projects, I was one of a couple of campus barbers.” Those barbering skills came in handy one Thanksgiving when his mom couldn’t afford a plane ticket to get him home. “I was so determined to go home that I began cutting hair about 9 a.m. and did not stop until about 10 p.m. and made enough to get a one-way ticket to LA! My hands still shake from the clipper vibration.” He can look back on those days somewhat humorously now, but the experiences helped forge friendships that have become lifelong. Branch also remembers that his first two years at NSU were rough. “I lost a number of key family members and just the transition of life, period. I spent a lot of time trying to find myself and coming to grips with who I was as an artist,” he said. “NSU was very different back then, and it was a place where the friends you went through hard times with ended up becoming friends for life.”

STRIKING OUT ON THEIR OWN They have taken their NSU education and become successful in their own right. Although Branch and Newman met through a mutual friend while in college, it wasn’t until after they graduated that their friendship took off. Newman is principal and creative director of Attain Design. His clients include President Barack obama, NIKe Inc., the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), SoNY Home entertainment, The LeBron James Foundation, the California African American Museum and the Republic of South Africa Department of education. Branch is a freelance photographer whose work has appeared in Elle, Vogue,, People, British GQ, LA Confidential, GOTHAM, INTERVIEW and Los Angeles Magazine, among others. His personal clients have included Wolfgang Puck Inc. and John Varvatos. He also has worked in the recording industry photographing such artists as John Legend and the Roots. Newman formed his company in 2003 after he was terminated from his job as brand manager for a major biotech company. When he couldn’t find a job after five months of looking, he humbled himself to interview with a fast food restaurant. Surprisingly, he still did not

get the job, but came to the realization that from that day on, he would be the controller of his own fate. Branch’s career as a photographer officially started while crashing on another NSU graduate (DeShaun Jones) and friend’s couch in Philadelphia in what he describes as a strange twist of fate. “I’d lost my job in Norfolk, had no car and had no place, and I didn’t want to go back to ettrick, Va., so I bought a one-way ticket to Philly,” said Branch. “I arrived in Philadelphia with two cameras and $60 to my name.” Branch had no job and no job prospects, but his timing was right because the Philadelphia music scene began to take off. “I knew I made the right decision, considering that I met Philly’s top photographer on the train in Baltimore the day I left Virginia.”

JOINING FORCES Those days are behind them. Both men, who now live in California, collaborate on projects together. The two of them talk several times a week and meet once a month over coffee in Malibu to discuss business and their respective industries. “Through my company, I have been able to hire many of my old college associates with various business talents,” said Newman. “I have contracted Andreas for a number of commercial photography projects and marketing campaigns.” Two of those projects have included where Newman art directed Branch in a photo shoot with Chuck Dee of Public enemy, while Branch assisted Newman with creative development for campaigns with HUD, the Navy Seals and a personalized photography coffee table book produced for First Lady Michelle obama that featured the work of Valerie Goodloe, the only African-American press photographer assigned to the 2008 presidential campaign press corps. When the two met at NSU, they could not have predicted that they would be friends and business associates 20 years later. “Never burn any bridges with people,” said Branch, “because those people may unexpectedly become your best friend—the person that hires you or saves you in a time of need.” Newman takes a more philosophical look at it. “Right now, the people you meet while in school don’t seem to have any importance to your life—they’re just passing dots. But it is [imperative] that you gather and keep as many dots as possible,” said Newman, “because when you put them all together on the page later in life they will form a picture. The more dots (network) you have, the easier it will be to ‘connect the dots’ and see the big picture.”

the images (opposite left page) are a compilation of account projects designed by Kelcey newman for attain Design and marketing communications. the photography images are portfolio shots by andreas branch.

fall 2012 • BeholD Magazine


Alumni: Know & Tell

A Love of Film and Art Gives Passion A Purpose During his sophomore year, Barry Bryant, a mass communications broadcast major, took a music video class and fell in love. “I shot and edited everything I produced,” said Bryant. Since taking that class, Bryant, now a senior expecting to graduate in May 2013, has directed and recorded music videos, documentaries, interviews and live performances. With a minor in fine art, Bryant is able to fuse together his passion for video/film and his love of art. He keeps in mind something that one of his professors said: “as artists when painting or drawing, we try our best to make the image look exactly the way the artist before us did. We have to remember, we are not copy machines.” Remembering the professor’s statement allows him to create freely rather than trying to replicate


Barry Bryant (left) and Brandon Blake (right) review video of Blake’s dance work. BeholD Magazine • fall 2012

someone else. “In my opinion art is an expression that shows your true colors,” said Bryant. “Whenever I decide to shoot something or someone, the first thing I do is imagine how it would look when it is completed.” He is currently working on a video series for NSU's office of Communications and Marketing that focuses on the University's tagline, "Achieving excellence. Success Beyond Measure." “In this video series, I have the opportunity to work with some of the most goal-oriented students,” Bryant said. "The first student is Brandon Blake,” he said. “Brandon is a business entrepreneurship major at Norfolk State University, who does ballet and loves to study abroad. According to Brandon, this is his way of “Achieving excellence and Success Beyond Measure.”’



BArry BryAnT

An Adventurous Spirit Leads to New Experiences randon Blake doesn’t mind taking chances—a good trait for the NSU senior business entrepreneurship major. When he was 20 years old, the 6-foot-5-inch and very lean Blake steeled his nerves and walked into a dance studio filled with 8 and 9 year-old girls and began his formal ballet training. “I was a giant in comparison,” he said. “I turned around and opted for the exit door but stopped when I realized the parents of some children were peering at me through the wooden door’s window pane.” Now two years later, he trains at the Ballet Virginia International or Norfolk Academy to perfect that art. over the summer, Blake, who expects to graduate in May 2013, embarked on another adventure—studying abroad at Yonsei University in South Korea. When he went on his first study abroad in fall 2011, he went to england to study at Kingston University in London. “I chose england, Great Britain, partly because english is the official language, partly because of price and partly because I knew I had an aunt living there,” he said. “What person of Jamaican heritage doesn’t have a relative in england,” he joked. While in england, he met people from South Korea and became intrigued with that country. “I now yearn to see the land, to learn the language and to gain a better comprehension of South Korean customs and political structure,” Blake said. He was awarded a $3,000 scholarship that would cover his expenses but needed an additional $2,000 to make his dream a reality. Determined to take the trip in summer 2012, Blake sent letters to family and friends detailing his aspirations. They came through for him. In June, Blake boarded a plane for South Korea ready for a new adventure. “I’m grateful,” he said, “for the support of NSU, my friends and family in helping me to make this dream a reality.”


fall 2012 • BeholD Magazine





Anderson Selected Liberal Arts Dean


Dr. Belinda C. Anderson has become the dean of the College of Liberal Arts. A strong proponent of liberal arts education, she holds degrees in history and social sciences from Radford University and Virginia Tech. Anderson has more than 25 years of service in the academy covering a myriad of administrative experiences including dean of the School of General and Continuing education at Norfolk State University. Through her innovative leadership, student enrollment in the School increased from 45 in 1988 to 700 in 1997. Dr. Deran R. whitney, superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools, recognizes Keysha thomas, ’97, a kindergarten teacher at northern Shores elementary, as the school district’s teacher of the Year.

Teachers of the Year have Norfolk State in Common


NSU Students Study in Cuba For a second consecutive year, Norfolk State University students studied abroad in Cuba. Travel to Cuba is restricted, so few universities have been able to offer programs there. NSU students, along with Tufts University students, were expected to research new expressions of civil society in Cuba and explore emerging opportunities for scholarly exchanges and intercultural service learning projects.

he teaches some of the youngest students in school. He teaches some of the oldest. She talks about colors and shapes. He talks about parallel lines and congruent triangles. But Norfolk State University is where their experiences intersect. Keysha Thomas, ’97, a kindergarten teacher at Northern Shores elementary School, is the city of Suffolk’s Teacher of the Year for 2012. Shawn ellis, ’04, a mathematics teacher at Maury High School, is Norfolk’s citywide Teacher of the Year for 2012. He is also the school district’s high school Teacher of the Year. Additionally, Connie Burgess, ’96, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Riverdale elementary School, is the 2012 Teacher of the Year for Southampton County Public Schools. Because of their designations as top teachers in their districts, Burgess, ellis and Thomas could find themselves competing against each other for Teacher of the Year for Virginia, which is selected in the fall. on the school level, Janis Fulgham-Faulk, ’00, an eighth-grade physical science teacher at J.P. King Middle School in Franklin, Va., was recognized as the school’s Teacher of the Year. Fulgham-Faulk, a Center for Materials Research scholar, graduated from NSU with a degree in chemistry and has been teaching eight years. In Norfolk, of the top four teachers including ellis, three are Norfolk State graduates. Besides ellis, they include Sinclair Harris, ’05, at Norview Middle School, as the middle school Teacher of the Year, while Robin Ward, ’97, at the Norfolk Technology Center, is the auxiliary education Teacher of the Year.

Foundation Awards Nursing Grants Norfolk State University has been selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to participate in RWJF's prestigious New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN). During the 2012-13 academic year, schools will receive grants to support students in their accelerated baccalaureate and master's degree nursing programs, who are traditionally underrepresented in the field of nursing and are pursuing a second career in nursing.


BeholD Magazine • fall 2012

Shawn ellis,’04, a mathematics teacher at maury high School, was named the norfolk Public Schools teacher of the Year at the school system’s “evening of excellence” gala celebration.



Engineering Graduate Uses Inventive Mind for Innovation When we think of inventors, we often think of Thomas edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and African-American inventors such as George Washington Carver, Granville T. Woods and elijah McCoy. But there is an innovator and inventor who calls NSU home. Wilbur Myrick, ’93, is a Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Sciences (DNIMAS) alumnus. He is the creator and inventor of numerous cutting-edge devices that improve the quality of our lives in ways that we don’t think WiLBur myrick about. Because of the proprietary nature of the work that he has performed for most of his career, Myrick, whose degree is in electronics engineering, can only say that he officially holds one patent. “I tend to work on research projects that are five to 10 years ahead of technology that you are currently using,” he explained. “one of my research projects in the past had me working on a fourth generation (4G) wireless project around

the 1997 timeframe. 4G has just become more prominent in recent years and is now available to consumers in all types of mobile devices.” The position that Myrick now holds as a senior technical subject matter expert at QinetiQ North America (QNA) in Reston, Va., offers him the opportunity to obtain additional patents for the work that he performs. “Being able to get involved on projects years before witnessing the realization of these projects makes your job exciting every day,” he said. “one day you are developing something in a lab and the next day you may see similar concepts being made available to consumers.” Because of his work, Myrick received the Black engineer of the Year Award in Career Achievement in 2006. He credits Norfolk State with helping to make his life what it is today, including meeting his wife, Sabrina Hood Myrick, ’93, chemistry. “My wife and I are both DNIMAS graduates and would not have received our Ph.D. degrees in chemical and electrical engineering from Purdue University, respectively, if it were not for NSU and the DNIMAS program providing the necessary foundation and motivation to get to the next level of education.”


Journalist Credits NSU for His Success Curtis Bunn, ’83, is sure that he would not have achieved the kind of success that he has – award-winning journalist and bestselling author – were it not for Norfolk State University and his experiences there. A Washington, D.C. native, Bunn came to Norfolk State unsure and a little intimidated about making new friends and what the future held. But he discovered encouragement, newfound responsibility and lifelong friendships. “Interacting with people from New York, Boston and smaller places I’d never heard of opened me up,” he said. “Ultimately I grew as an individual.” Most of all, he said, “I made some of the best friends of my life in college.” When it came to his career, Bunn knew that he wanted curTis Bunn to be a sports reporter and worked for the Spartan Echo newspaper from his freshman year until graduation, serving as reporter, sports editor, assistant editor and executive editor. His work with the Spartan Echo helped him get an internship with The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk’s daily newspaper. That experience set his career in motion and led to a journalism career that included working for The St. Petersburg Times (Fla.), The Washington Times (Washington, D.C.), New York Newsday, New York Daily News and The Atlanta JournalConstitution, mainly covering a wide variety of collegiate, professional and international sports. Bunn carved out a second career as an essence No. 1 bestselling author. He has penned five novels, including Homecoming Weekend (Strebor Books/Simon & Schuster), which will be released on September 4 and available in bookstores nationwide and at The story takes place at NSU. “It’s a love letter to Norfolk State,” Bunn said. “The tailgating, the camaraderie, reunions and connecting with old friends. It’s relatable to anyone who’s attended a Historically Black College or University in general and Norfolk State in particular.” His affection for his school is undeniable. “I bleed Green and Gold,” he said. And he wants to preserve its legacy. “The survival of the school is predicated on what you do when you leave,” Bunn said. “Giving back of your time, talent or treasure is important. Why wouldn’t you do that for the school you believe contributed to your development as an adult?”

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fall 2012 • BeholD Magazine



A Designing Alumna Gives Alumni House A Makeover


hese days when you walk into the Melvin and Patricia Stith Alumni House, all you can say is “Wow!” The freshly painted, rich but understated green walls, the light colored wood floors and the photographic display of alumni give you a sense of pride and place. The foyer is inviting, while the main room is warm as cozy leather loveseats and chairs are intimately grouped creating an atmosphere for friendly conversation. “The contrast between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ is amazing,” said Alumni Relations Director Michelle Hill, ’96. “Alumni now have a place to gather that is professional looking yet makes you feel at home.” The transformation is the hard work of Lynda Griffin, ’92, who took on the challenge. Griffin, who lives in Prince George’s County, Md., and owns Creative Interior Designs by Lynda LLC, first stepped into the Alumni House on Corprew Avenue in 2011 while visiting campus and seeing the new building projects. A lifetime member of the Prince George’s alumni chapter, she could feel something “new” in the air at Norfolk State and suggested that the Alumni House reflect that new energy. “We have new leadership with Dr. Tony Atwater and there’s so much that’s happening with the University on the positive side,” said Griffin. “We want young alumni to come back and give back,” she said. “This is about giving back and preserving the University.” When Griffin came to Norfolk State as a freshman, she wanted to be a police officer and graduated with degrees in criminal justice and sociology. Somewhere along the way, her interest and love for interior design took over. She followed her heart’s desire and began her interior design career. Griffin has still found a way to serve her community by sharing her interior design expertise through speaking engagements and workshops. As for giving her time and talent to the Alumni House, she explains that it’s “nothing” compared to what Norfolk State has given her. “It’s about giving back to the University that I feel so connected to.” Griffin remembers the love and encouragement she received from her professors and advisors and being part of the Spartan Legion marching band. “They cared for you and encouraged you,” she said. “You may come in wanting to be a police officer, but you leave caring about people.”

cozy leather furniture grouped around a coffee table creates a feeling of intimacy.


BeholD Magazine • fall 2012

before the alumni house had an elementary style but with the makeover, it has graduated to an advanced degree of sophistication.

Stark white walls have been painted understated green and light colored wood flooring installed.

Norfolk State University Alumni Association Inc. Join Today! Office of Alumni Relations norfolk State University 700 Park avenue norfolk, Va 23504

Telephone: (757) 823-8135 or (800)-nSU-alUm Email:


WEEKEND November 1-3, 2012

Official NSU Alumni Host Hotel Holiday Inn Executive Center 5655 Greenwich Road Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462 Cost: $89 per night plus tax Room rates are for Thurs., Nov. 1-Sat., Nov. 3 (Price available until 10/19/2012) To make reservations, call (757) 499-4400 or (800) 567-3856 Group Name: Norfolk State Homecoming Questions? call the ofďŹ ce of alumni Relations at (757) 823-8135 or email

fall 2012 • BeholD Magazine


office of Communications and Marketing 700 Park Avenue, HBW 340 Norfolk, VA 23504 Address Service Requested

Achieving Excellence. Success Beyond Measure. “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”—Malcolm X