KU to honor nine leaders as part of Black Alumni Network program during homecoming celebration

Nine KU alumni will receive a special innovation award as part of the KU Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Network program.

The award recognizes members of the Black Alumni Network who have made special contributions either to their profession, the university or their community. The nine winners will be recognized Oct. 14 at a reunion that is part of the University of Kansas’ homecoming celebrations.

The honorees are:

• Luke Bobo, Shawnee, a vice president for Made to Flourish, an organization that works with a national network of pastors.

• Phyllis Stevens Chase, Kansas City, Mo., a professor of education at Baker University and a former school superintendent for several large districts in the region.

• Patricia Weems Gaston, Lawrence, a professor of journalism at KU, who previously was a journalist at The Washington Post and the Dallas Morning News, where she was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on violence against women.

• Denise White Gilmore, Hoover, Ala., a nationally-recognized advocate for social and racial justice in community development issues. She currently serves as senior director for the Division of Social Justice & Racial Equity for the mayor’s office in Birmingham, Ala.

• Darren James, Lewisville, Texas, president of KAI Enterprises, a design and construction firm with offices in six states.

• Mark McCormick, Leawood, director of strategic communications for the ACLU of Kansas, and formerly a journalist for several newspapers, in addition to being the author of a book on NFL great Barry Sanders.

• Clantha Carrigan McCurdy, Natick, Mass., senior deputy director for access and student financial assistance with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

• Aaron Thomas, Overland Park, executive producer and CEO of Wyandotte Entertainment, and also currently is the executive producer of the CBS series “S.W.A.T.” and a former writer for the television program “CSI: New York.”

• Irvetta Williams, St. Louis, founder and lead consultant for iJay Enterprises, which helps developers navigate pre-construction and building code issues.

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