The 25 founders of CBS, an organization that empowers students of color while educating the university on diversity issues, will be the honored guests at the event, which culminates a year of celebratory activities and programming. Led by Wittenberg Board of Directors member Ron Woods, class of 1969 and the first president of CBS, the organization's founding members will collectively receive the first-ever CBS alumni awards.
"I'm proud to say that my Witt light was ignited by and continues to burn brightly because of my contributions to this organization," said 2008-09 CBS President Brittani Sterling, class of 2009 from Deridder, La. "I share a special kinship with the founders of CBS as president this year, and I am proud that it has been such an integral part of my college experience.
"I believe that the organization is an important fixture here, and I know it will continue to change the lives of Wittenberg students for years to come."
Formed at the end of the tumultuous Civil Rights era of the 1960s in an effort to gain a voice on campus, CBS has evolved into an organization that doesn't just embrace African Americans but all Wittenberg students through a variety of events and activities. In recent years, CBS has partnered with such student organizations as the Gay Straight Alliance, the American International Association, the W.A.G.E. Womyn's Center and Student Senate to provide campus programming opportunities.
Operating out of the refurbished William A. McClain Black Culture House, CBS organizes several recognizable events each year, including the Unity March in October, a commemorative walkout in April, a host of Black History Month events in February and the Freedom March and Martin Luther King panel discussion in January. All of this would not have been possible without the foresight of the 25 founding members.
"They didn't even realize they were creating a ‘light' for not only African American students who followed them, but also European American students," said Director of Multicultural Student Programs and Director of the W.A.G.E. Womyn's Center Forest Wortham. "This group taught a lot of lessons about social protest and minority groups finding their voice."
CBS leaders have worked closely with the Office of Alumni Relations to connect and engage organization alumni from throughout its illustrious 40-year history. The result is an event Wortham hopes will inspire alumni to become more active and current students to take greater initiative and ownership of their future.
"I'm so happy that we aren't just sending these great people a letter of thanks in the mail," Wortham said. "We are recognizing their immense contributions, and I hope that their interaction with today's CBS members will help us move the organization forward to reach even greater heights."
The founding CBS members to be recognized are Muriel Mitchell Scruggs, Levi Wingard and Woods, all class of 1969; Jim Bell, Tyrone Curry, Mary Foxworth, Margie Hemphill Peacock, Larry Peacock, Gregory Pratt, Selena Neal Singletary and Sandi Williams, all class of 1970; and Beverly Andrews, Tom Catlett, Mary Dillard Daniels, William Hardin, Darryl Herring, Paul Hicks, Norman King, Leonard Lightfoot, Wendy Miller Woods, Alfonso Pearson, Charleyse Smith Pratt, Victor Sheppard, Mark Thomas and Jim Thrasher, all class of 1971.
To register to attend the event, contact Wortham at (937) 327-7800 or via e-mail. The registration deadline is Saturday, April 11.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
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